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Urban Sprawl Threatens Central Oahu
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Letter to the Editor

Urban Sprawl Threatens Central Oahu

KOA RIDGE

Castle and Cooke has proposed a major new residential development in Central Oahu, to be known as Koa Ridge. The company has petitioned the State Land Use Commission (SLUC) to reclassify 1,250 acres from the State Agriculture District to the Urban District. If the commission approves the request, then the company can proceed to obtain City and County of Honolulu's approval to build 7,500 housing units.

The League, the Mililani Neighborhood Board and the Sierra Club are opposed to the redistricting, which represents a classic example of urban sprawl. (See the President's Report).

The project is proposed for former pineapple land, much of which is designated as prime agricultural land by the Department of Agriculture. Urbanization would remove it from availability for agriculture. The adequacy of groundwater supply, the wastewater system, and educational facilities are serious concerns, as well as the potential increase in traffic. The Mililani Neighborhood Board wants the company to provide the results of a study specifying the incremental effect on community travel time resulting from the construction of the additional units.

In addition, 486 of the 1,250 acres are outside the urban community boundary in the city's proposed Central Oahu Sustainable Communities Plan. The urban boundary is supposed to provide adequate land to support established or developing communities while protecting lands outside these boundaries for agriculture or open space until 2025. Further, the City of Kapolei in the Ewa area is designated as the primary growth area for Oahu.

MILILANI MAUKA PF MAP CHANGE

Castle and Cooke is now before the City Planning Commission requesting an amendment to the development plan use map for Mililani Mauka Phase 3, to redesignate 104 acres from Public Facilities to Residential and Low Density Apartment. The site was originally set aside as a site for West Oahu College. If approved, the redesignation could result in around 800 additional housing units in Mililani Mauka. If the company receives approval of this request, as well as for the Koa Ridge development, it would be able to construct 8,300 housing units in the Mililani area.

The city has already approved 14,000 housing units which have not yet been developed, in Central Oahu. With the addition of another 8,300 units, Central Oahu could have a total of 22,300 housing units. In Ewa, which is designated as the second city area, the City has already approved 21,000 housing units, which have not yet been developed.

These two growth areas, Central Oahu and Ewa, could have an additional 43,300 housing units with a potential population of 130,000. We note from the 2000 Census that Oahu only gained 40,000 in population between 1990 and 2000. We are rezoning more land than we need at present. At the same time, we have insufficient infrastructure to accommodate the potential population size.

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