Aloha Motors Convention Center
Nearly three years after it approved the Convention Center plan on the Aloha Motors site, and nearly two years after League and a number of other community organizations and individuals filed suit against the City and First Development Inc., the City Council's Policy Committee on 1/13/93 voted 4 to 2 to oppose the development. Unfortunately, 5 votes were needed to adopt the resolution, so it had to be held in Committee for the time being.
Resolution 92-310, introduced by Councilman Mirikitani, closely paralleled many of League's allegations. Among the points in the Resolution's "whereas" clauses were:
- Normal zoned building heights on the site would be exceeded by 150 to 350 feet.
- Normal zoned density would be doubled or even tripled.
- The plan included far more hotel, apartment building, office and retail space than the convention center itself.
- The normal zoning of the site did not permit hotels.
- The planned 500 foot height would create a "shadow" blocking radio and TV reception.
- Parking provided would be inadequate, and being partially off-site would create increased pedestrian activity.
- Traffic mitigating measures planned were not adequate to ensure safe and efficient ingress to and egress from the site and safe and efficient vehicular travel in the area.
- The State had not abandoned its plans for a Convention Center elsewhere.
- The need for even one Convention Center in or near Waikiki is questionable; clearly, there is no need for two.
- Hazardous waste materials have been discovered on the site since the Council approved the plan.
- During the construction period there would be intolerable traffic conditions, severe and unhealthful noise and dust, the release of unhealthful hazardous materials into the air and the Ala Wai canal, and other adverse conditions.
- There would be further high-priced residential and resort development in the areas surrounding the site, causing displacement of low-and moderate- income residents and further exacerbating the upward spiral of housing costs there.
- Long-established small businesses would be adversely affected by anticipated increases in commercial rents in the area.
- Alternative uses of the Aloha Motors site may better serve and complement the newly-formulated Waikiki Master Plan and the forthcoming revised Waikiki Special District zoning, so it is premature to move forward with the existing plan for the site.
- The State may be considering the site for a publicly subsidized State Convention Center, which should not require the excessive heights and densities in the current plan.
Based on the above, the proposed Resolution:
- Declares the Council's opposition to further development of the site as a convention center as planned.
- States the Council's belief that if a convention center is built on the site, it should be in strict conformance with normal zoned height and density provisions without regard for the 1990 special concessions permitted.
- Directs the city Clerk to transmit copies of the Resolution to appropriate City and State agencies and neighborhood boards.
Arlene Ellis, in a statement to the committee, stated that while we agreed with the intent of the Resolutions, it did not have the force in law that an ordinance would. She suggested passing an ordinance reversing the previous Councils decision.
The appeal process following Judge Kaulukukui's dismissal of our law suit will commence on 2/28/93, when our attorney Fred Benco will file a brief with the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Chair, Planning & Zoning Committee