February 2004 Home   Newsletters

March 2004

May 2004

President's Message (Pearl Johnson)
Honolulu League's Annual Membership Meeting
Program and Action
Voter Service Report (Arlene Ellis)
Nominating Committee Report
In Memory of Dee Lum
Proposed Budget for Year Ending 2003-2004
Development Plan Goes to City Council (Charles Carole)
Welcome New Members
National LWV Makes Clear Our Position on Paper Trails
Resoultion Urging Repeal of the Legislature's Chair Veto Rule

DEVELOPMENT PLAN GOES TO CITY COUNCIL

After eight years in preparation, the Primary Urban Center Development Plan (PUCDP) is now being considered by the City Council Planning Committee. The PUCDP covers a large area from Kahala to Pearl City which is composed of many different communities with their own special qualities and challenges. The Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) realizes that they could not propose a development plan which would apply equally to the many different communities in the PUC. Thus, the PUCDP establishes a framework to enable the creation of more specific community plans. DPP had stated that they will work collaboratively with community-based organizations, including Neighborhood Boards and Vision Teams, to prepare and adopt specific plans for improving the PUC's communities.

The League will testify in favor of the plan with the following two caveats on community plans: (1) Each community plan should be adopted by the City Council before rezoning within its area in accordance with the proposed PUCDP, and (2) as one of the alternatives, the present zoning regulations should be included in Appendix B of the proposed PUCDP: Implementation Strategies as one of the alternatives.

The reason for these two conditions is that some communities may prefer the present zoning regulations instead of the proposed implementation strategies in the PUCDP. One proposed change in zoning is to have no on-site parking spaces for residents in new apartment buildings. It has been found in other cities with this type of zoning that the apartment residents will own cars anyway and fight for limited on-street parking spaces with other area residents. League's other concern is that allowing full lot coverage of a building with no side, front or back yards would result in buildings in a row next to each other as in Chinatown. This may be more appropriate for some areas than others. Many apartment residents are concerned about blocking breezes and light and prefer separation of buildings even though the open spaces are not completely aesthetic. DPP also proposes to increase the housing density to 140 housing units per acre for all apartment districts. However, Eric Crispin, Director of DPP has said that present zoning would accommodate DPP's 2025 population projection for the PUC.

What drives these changes? In my opinion, the answer is the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Transit needs the population growth in the PUC area to justify its operation. The important question is how these changes will impact the livability of these communities in the PUC area. Thus, community plans are important documents for area residents to determine their local livability qualities.

Charles Carole

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