March 1990 Home   Newsletters

April 1990

May 1990

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Rail Transit
Waikiki Master Plan
Hawaii Water Plan
UH Peace Institute
Public Reporter
Help Needed
Hawaii's Dream (Roland Katani)
Welcome New Members

President's Message

April 14 we urged the Council before the Committee of the Whole, not to be pressured and rushed into a provin the potentially disastrous gift horse (Aloha Motors Convention Center complex) before looking more closely at its teeth.

From the beginning the development had been processed abnormally. To expedite it the Council permitted it to be processed as a Plan Review use, though it does not meet the criteria the Land Use Ordinance (LUO) specifies for such uses. The PRU was designed for public uses such as hospitals, prisons, airports, colleges and universities. The criteria specifies 1) to provide essential community services 2) to minimize objectionable aspects of its use or the potential incompatibility with other uses permitted in the district 3) that density, heights and yards shall be determined by taking into consideration existing zoning, and that 4) deviation from the plan other than those of minor impact shall require Council approval.

The Council decision exempted it from the careful public scrutiny it should have had, including an Environmental Impact Statement and its legal requirements. In addition, the Council pre-approved giving it unprecedented height and density exemptions. Though it is the largest private project ever proposed in the State, it has had only one public hearing.

Absolutely no attention was paid by either the developer or the Department of Land Utilization (DLU) director to the many concerns and criticisms raised in response to DLU's request for public input.

The DLU's report approving the proposal was in almost all respects a carbon copy of the application. It accepted all the developer's claims, including his "trade-off analysis" which showed him losing, rather than profiting, from the staggering concessions to be granted by the City.

The proposed Resolution approving the application leaves many important conditions and issues unresolved. The pedestrian bridge, the TV antenna problem, the promised parking, payment for infrastructure, and many other matters, are left to future negotiations, with no participation by either the public or the Council.

The Resolution permits unlimited modification and indeed elimination, of the very conditions it imposes. In item 17 it provides that "any material modifications to the conditions or change in use stated herein shall be subject to approval of the Director of Land Utilization."

Finally--and most important--approving the application as submitted would be an outrageous example of selling zoning, with total disregard for the basic requirement in zoning that land use controls be based upon a comprehensive plan and indeed for the constitutionality of zoning itself. If such controls can be set aside at will, we have government "not by law, but by man"--or at least whichever men and women are willing to make deals at any given time with individual developers and land owners. The Courts in other States have on occasion ruled such deals illegal, and might be asked to so here.

Arlene Ellis

March 1990 Home   Newsletters May 1990