photo unavailable Gathering Place

Bob Hampton

Rezoning would destroy
what’s left of Hawaii Kai

At the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board meeting last Tuesday evening, a large crowd of East Oahu residents, City Council members, state legislators and community activists calling for a "Livable Hawaii Kai" filled the Hahaione Elementary School Cafe. Many testified that the "over-building boom" must stop now. Legislators called for a building moratorium. The Board of Water Supply said it is at "current zoning capacity." The private sewage company said it, too, is at current zoning capacity. Both said new infrastructure is needed to support home construction.

The schools are at capacity. Lunalilo Road and Hawaii Kai Drive are a parking lot at rush hour. Many folks expressed disdain for one builder's solid-wall, in-your-face housing. Concern was expressed for the impact of hundreds of families that have yet to move into their newly completed and under-construction town homes.

It was clear that the residents at this meeting believe Hawaii Kai has reached its capacity. One resident called for an Environmental Impact Statement for all new projects.

In light of the huge community uproar against any more development, it is hard to believe that a developer still wants to replace Kamilonui Valley farm lots with a large housing project. To do so he must change the zoning and the East Oahu Master Plan. The city Board of Water Supply obviously concerned the crowd when it said it would approve the developer's request for 200 new homes. Disturbed by the this possibility, one of the long-time Kamilonui farmers reminded the community, in a soft and eloquent manner, of what it took to create the East Oahu Master Plan and the current agriculture zoning. He finished with a remark about how important Kamilonui farming is to Hawaii Kai and a plea to leave it that way.

How to control this building spree was on everyone's mind. The sure way to save Kamilonui Valley is for Kamehameha Schools to stand behind the East Oahu Master Plan and their farm leases and deny developers a change to urban use.

One of the big questions by residents is, can we trust our City Council to preserve Hawaii Kai's healthy and livable environment? Another resident questions the sewer company's ability to handle Hawaii Kai generated processed sewage. Does it exceed the capacity at the Sandy Beach outfall? Hawaii-American Water Company told the marina community not to use the marina in October and December 2003 because it spilled 87,000 gallons of raw sewage into the marina. Many of us wondered then and now, was it faulty equipment or have we exceeded the capacity?

There was no question of how the Hawaii Kai community felt that night. The community leaders and officials heard it clearly: Enough already!

Bob Hampton, president of Waikiki Beach Activities, lives in Hawaii Kai.


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