Nine months of strenuous opposition to the city's Administration's proposed rezoning of Waikiki to high densities and greater heights of buildings culminated on May 4 with the City Council's unanimous vote to refer the proposal back to the Zoning Committee without approval at second reading. The decision was based primarily on the fact that the so-called "Waikiki Master Plan" had never been formally presented to the Council or the Planning Commission, that no public hearings had been held, and that the proposed zoning, alleged to implement it did not do so. The Council called on the City Administration to follow accepted planning and zoning procedures which call for planning policies and objectives to be adopted first, followed by zoning to implement them.
"We cannot accept the basic premise on which Bill 172 is based-that the salvation of Waikiki lies in stimulating its redevelopment at ever higher densities and grater heights. We agree with one of the Vision for Waikiki 20/20 reports that said: 'Crowded conditions are undesirable in a resort area ... Waikiki cannot afford to solve 'economic problems' caused by spiraling land costs and ever-increasing development intensities. The price of creating financially viable development projects may be too high: it could have irrevocable adverse effects on the resort community."
'Both the City's 1991 "Concepts for a Master Plan' and the 1992 'Master Plan for Waikiki' praise the existing Waikiki special District provisions, which reduced allowable building densities by half, lowered heights to preserve views, and required more open space. It is ironic that the very Master Plan on which Bill 172 is allegedly based states that 'while the Waikiki special Design District has limited the density of new development, eliminated the potential for massive, super-dense projects, and reduced the number of new units being constructed, it has neither disadvantaged property owners nor discouraged viable new projects.
"Unfortunately, these sentiments are not reflected in Bill 172, which clearly identities redevelopment at high densities as the primary goal. Excessive bonuses in floor area and height are given for very moderate public benefits. Absolute amounts of open space may well increase, but not the ratio of open space to floor are - the open space ration, which , incidentally, was a recognized element in land use intensity as early as the Comprehensive Zoning Code in 1975.
"We urge you, as we did in the attached testimony before your Zoning Committee on April 19, to scrap this proposal, adopt a Master Plan which calls for a Waikiki more human in scale, more Hawaiian, and more what its visitors want it to be. The present Waikiki Special District regulations can then be amended, if necessary, to implement it.
League supported Bill 171 which in effect cancelled 1992's map designation of the Hobron Lane area to high density Resort Mixed Use, and reverted the area back to its former Apartment designation.