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President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Bus Rapid Transit vs. Rail
League Testifies - on the General Excise Tax Surcharge - 1 (Arlene Ellis)
League Testifies - on the General Excise Tax Surcharge - 2 (Astrid Monson)
League Testifies - Rail
League Testifies - Resort Mixed Use
League Testifies - Annual Development Plan
Oahu Silver Legislature
General Membership Meeting on Proposed Charter Amendments
Letter to the Editor (Lawrence H. Gordon)
Education Forum

League Testifies - Resort Mixed Use


AUGUST 3, 1992

Since we will not be able to testify in person at the public hearing August 5, we are submitting our testimony in the form of a letter.

In a letter to CPO Benjamin Lee dated April 14, 1992, we commented as follows:

"We do not support establishment of a Resort Mixed Use category island-wide. We think the mixture of uses it permits is tantamount to having almost no control of the compatibility of land uses at all. Even in Waikiki this is debatable -- elsewhere, we think it is clearly unwise and also unnecessary. ...................

"Even in Waikiki, we have serious questions about lumping so many existing or currently permitted uses -apartment, park, public facility, commercial, resort, and military - into one 'Resort Mixed Use' District. Though this is claimed to allow flexibility, we might argue that even greater flexibility would result from having no use zoning at all. We feel that the proposed District may permit uses seriously incompatible with one another, particularly the uncontrolled juxtaposition of combinations of commercial and resort uses within or next to apartment buildings...."

In the July DGP analysis of the proposed amendment, it is stated that the DGP would be willing to specify that the new designation would apply only within the PUC -presumably only in Waikiki. We would sup- port this provision if the amendment were adopted, but we still oppose the amendment even in Waikiki.

In the analysis, several justifications are given for adopting the amendment and applying it in Waikiki. These are as follows, with our reasons for disagreeing with each:

It would encourage redevelopment. This may be true, but mixed commercial and resort uses would replace existing, often low-density, residential buildings providing moderately priced rental housing with these more profitable uses.

It would create more public open space. Not necessarily. The higher densities to be allowed would presumably be conditioned on providing such space, but a reconfiguration of the FAR bonus formula could achieve the same result without allowing what we consider an undesirable mixture of uses or excessive densities.

It would accommodate the moderate growth policy. We have opposed this policy, since we feel that it is the already existing overdevelopment and congestion of Waikiki that threatens it, and we feel the proposed growth policy -- which would allow some 20% or 25% more visitor units than now exist in the proposed Mixed Use District, would only make matters worse. "Waikiki has a long history of mixed uses," the analysis states. And, we might add, a long list of complaints from tourists, as well as residents, of the unpleasant results of such unplanned and undifferentiated mixtures. "Combining tropical amenities with the varied and intense activity of a large city" sounds exciting, but it has not worked. If we want a more tropical environment for the tourists, a relaxed, people-oriented resort, we had better not encourage more high-density commercial development among the palm trees.

It would preserve the mauka residential neighborhoods. What is proposed, essentially, is to let about two-thirds of Waikiki get worse in order that the other one-third not get worse. It may come to that, but we would hope that all the planning effort could do better than that. With the density to be allowed in the Mixed Use district about twice that allowed in the Apartment areas (FAR 3.5 compared with 1.8), how long will it be before all Waikiki is districted for the newly defined designation?

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