President's Message (Arlene Ellis)|
Kakaako's Gentrification (George Mason)
Charter Commission Moves to Revise Planning Process (Astrid Monson)
Addendum (rail stations) (George Mason)
LWV-Honolulu Board Nominees
Charter Commission Moves to Revise Planning Process
Two years ago League led the community's successful fight to prevent the destruction of the comprehensive planning process the Charter sets up under the annual Development Plan Review provisions. Some 45 neighborhood boards, community organizations and other public interest groups, as well as many individuals, joined in the effort and helped raise some $6,000.00 to pay for newspaper ads to "Stop the Scandal."
Since then, we have worked hard to improve the process, which has never functioned the way the Charter intended it to. Under a new Chief Planning Officer, Benjamin Lee, the Department of General Planning is finally trying to focus on genuinely comprehensive planning instead of merely reacting to individual project applications on a case-by-case basis.
To encourage this change in emphasis, we have urged that the Charter be revised to clarify the differences between planning and zoning and to delineate more clearly the respective functions of the Departments of General Planning and Land Utilization. We submitted specific testimony incorporating text additions and revisions to accomplish this. We also expressed our opposition to proposals re-combining the two Departments and eliminating the requirements that their Directors had to have certain training and experience. Fortunately, the Charter Commission's Planning committee is chaired by John Whalen, formerly the City's DLU director and for the past two years a private planning consultant. On March 17 he presented to the Commission his Committee's recommendation for a thorough revision of the Planning and Zoning Chapters of the Charter, based on the testimony and proposals received.
Emphasizing that he construed "stream-lining the planning process" to mean strengthening rather than weakening it, he stated that his proposed changes in the City's Planning System sought to conform the Development Plan process to what was originally intended by the 1972 Charter Commission. Major changes proposed include:
Arlene Ellis, testifying as President of the League of Women Voters of Honolulu, expressed her elation with Mr. Whalen's oral presentation of the Charter Commission's proposed revisions to the City's planning system. She stated that she was delighted to discover that Mr. Whalen's proposed draft included many of the League's concerns. She remarked that she was especially pleased that the Commission's proposal addressed the League's most important recommendation; namely, "...the clarification and separation of the functions of the DGP and the DLU to encourage genuine comprehensive planning of a proactive nature by the former and to give the latter an . adequate framework for zoning decisions.
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