photo unavailable Gathering Place

Kioni Dudley

Infrastructure can’t take
Makakilo development

Construction started yesterday on the Palehua East B development in upper Makakilo. The Friends of Makakilo is a community organization of area residents formed months before Castle & Cooke bought the Palehua East B property. Our clearly stated goal has always been a moratorium on development in Makakilo until the infrastructure to support it is in place.

Our schools are overcrowded. The elementary-age children in this development will travel six miles -- past three other schools -- to Barber's Point Elementary. The middle-school children will go to a school bulging at the seams even though it is already on multi-track. The high school students will force multi-track on Kapolei High School, breaking up the academies with their outstanding programs that have made Kapolei the high school in the state with the most requests for district exception transfers.

Our roads are already backed up in every direction for hours each day. We can't get out of our shopping center because of the traffic. The freeway to town is a nightmare. The 500-plus cars from the development will go to the same places we all go, further clogging the streets and making the situation insufferably worse. The developer has done nothing to alleviate the problems.

Makakilo has a shortage of emergency shelter. Eighty percent of our current residents have no place to go if a hurricane strikes. The developer is providing no protection for the people living in its new homes, leaving them to vie with current residents for the little space there is and setting up a potentially disastrous situation in the event of a natural calamity.

Castle & Cooke has rocketed from date of purchase to start of construction in five months and seven days. But it has done nothing to improve the infrastructure. Let me state this clearly: The community doesn't want Castle & Cooke moving a clod of dirt or bringing a thing onto the property until the roads, schools, emergency shelters and other necessities are there to support it.

Friends of Makakilo has called for an update to the Environmental Impact Statement that was done in 1979. During the last 25 years, rare indigenous plants have grown back on the fallow lands all over Ewa. In place of the federally supervised study we requested, the developer has offered to pay for a survey of plants. We don't feel comfortable with this at all. A responsible company would want to do an EIS.

And what kind of development is this? One with parks, rec centers and beautiful streets like the developer built in Mililani? No. Castle & Cooke paid the city a paltry $128,000 to waive the requirement in the Ewa Development Plan for a two-acre park. That will give Castle & Cooke room to build and profit from roughly 16 more homes in a community with no recreation space.

The Ewa Development Plan states that "the rights-of-way for major arterials should be designed as landscaped parkways or greenways, complete with a landscaped median strip, landscaped sidewalk, and bikeways. Major arterials should have separate bike paths. Suggested width for major arterials ... is 120 feet wide."

Makakilo Drive is one of the few, major arterial roads in Ewa. Castle & Cooke are planning a 78-foot width as it passes through the development. That's half the width called for by the plan. Why should Makakilo not get the beautiful passageways that the plan calls for? A 78-foot-wide street is a message in concrete and asphalt that Makakilo deserves and gets less. We demand the beautiful vision for Ewa that the development plan calls for.

Finally, let us talk about the damage, discomfort, and extra work this development will cause our people. The winds over the Palehua property are the strongest sustained winds in the state. Much of Makakilo is directly downwind of the property. Because of sewer-access shortage, the development will not receive building permits for another year. Beginning excavation now will needlessly leave Makakilo residents deep in dust for many months. Castle & Cooke's offer of protective window screens is an insult to our people.

We protest any development of Palehua East B before all of these problems are addressed.

Kioni Dudley is president of Friends of Makakilo


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