Honolulu League Testifies on Development Plan Amendments
The Planning and Zoning Committee has entered into a post-election burst of activity. When we testified before the city council we were careful to provide enough background material so that the issues were clear. During the past months we have been working on four major items; two of them are outlined here.
Waikiki Gateway Site
Last year the city council unanimously voted to include in the 1994 annual development plan review its previous approval of a resort mixed use (RMU) designation for the Waikiki Gateway (Hobron Lane) site and reverting it back to apartment use, its presently zoned status. Our testimony read, in part:
"The 1992 Waikiki Master Plan report, though not adopted, made a very good analysis of Waikiki's present problems. It spoke of 'unbridled past development,' 'crowding', 'inadequate transportation,' and alleged that Waikiki lacks 'clearly defined residential neighborhoods and resort districts' and that current residents are 'being replaced by new hotels and condominiums.'
"Whatever the merits or demerits of the RMU district and the almost unlimited mix of land uses it permits, or of the increased density it permits, we feel that until a comprehensive Master Plan for all Waikiki has been completed, discussed publicly, revised and adopted, redevelopment along the lines permitted by RMU should not go forward.
"Both the General Plan and the existing Development Plan indicate that no major increases in density should take place in Waikiki. Obviously, changing land use designations from apartment to RMU, With roughly twice the permitted density, can result in greatly increased land values. It also leads to increased rentals in what is one of the few Waikiki neighborhoods where relatively moderate rentals are still favorable.
"We therefore urge you to approve Bill 104 as a holding mechanism to maintain the status quo until a comprehensive plan for Waikiki's future development has been adopted."
Lihi Lani (Pupukea)
Another major issue we worked on this month was the Lihi Lani Development Plan (DP) change proposed as a modification of the existing DP, which permits a golf course, various recreational facilities, and a small amount of housing on some 1100 acres of land in the highlands above Sunset Beach. In a letter dated Nov. 12, 1994 to City Council Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Donna Kim, we stated in part:
"Currently, Bill 88 (DP) and 89 (zoning) make major changes in what was approved in 1991-92. It had been argued that what is now being proposed is less objectionable than what could be developed under the existing DP and that significant community benefits are being offered, such as the elimination of the golf course in favor of more housing, provision of a community center, 80 units of rental housing for the elderly, etc. We feel, however, that more fundamental issues are involved.
"The Chief Planning Officer has stated - and we agree with him - that he would be concerned about a proliferation of rural-residential projects on the North Shore. He points out that the cumulative effect could seriously overburden the infrastructure - particularly the roadway system - and could detract from the rural character of the area. It is precisely for this reason that we must object to this project's creating an entering wedge. Unfortunately, the present DP has already opened the door to such development. We think that the proposed changes, and the zoning to implement the DP as amended, would only widen the crack.
"For all these reasons we recommend that if any DP change is made now, it should be limited to re-designating the golf course area for DP agricultural. We believe there should be no zoning of any of the upper area to country district, nor any highway widening or urbantype housing, at least until the North Shore DP Revision program is completed.
"We do not think that zoning should ever be granted in exchange for community benefits, however attractive they may seem."
Planning and Zoning Chair