February 1995 Home   Newsletters

March 1995

April 1995

President's Message: League Acts on Legislative Fronts (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Orientation Meeting for New Members Scheduled (Grace Furukawa)
Voter Guide to Be Published (Arlene Ellis)
Contract with America Theme of Annual Meeting
Nominating Committee Submits Slate
Action Alert on Term Limits
City Council Defers Action on Bill 104 (Astrid Monson)
LWV-Honolulu Budget Report
Congratulations, Dr. Margaret Copi!
LWV 75th Anniversary Crossword Puzzle
Membership
Vocational Education, Charter Schools on Agenda (Marion Saunders)

City Council Defers Action on Bill 104

After extensive public testimony in favor of changing the Development Plan for the Hobron Lane - Ala Wai Gateway area from a 1992 designation of Resort Mixed Use back to its previous Apartment Use, the City Council on Feb. 15 deferred action on the matter until September. League strongly supported the change and on Jan. 31 testified as follows:

We have supported the DP redesignation of the Ala Wai Gateway area back to apartment use ever since the City Council first proposed it. At the time the Resort Mixed Use designation was first adopted as a new type of land use precinct in Waikiki, we opposed it for three reasons:

  1. it permitted too broad a range of land uses

  2. it would permit considerably higher density than present zoned land uses

  3. it was proposed to be mapped too widely and would result in widespread loss of affordable rental housing.

We recommend that if the Council really desired such a precinct to be established, it be mapped only in limited appropriate specific areas. Unfortunately, from our point o f view, the Council decided otherwise. Bill 104 would begin to correct this action.

This is one of the few areas in Waikiki which is still largely residential and where significant quantities of reasonably priced housing are still available. The Council's cap on the number of hotel units to be built in Waikiki has already been reached in other hotel developments. The market for up-scale condominiums is already saturated.

The other item on your agenda today is notice o f the work being done on the Waikiki Master Plan and the Waikiki Special Design District zoning regulations. Until these have been completed and adopted, we think premature development of areas like the Ala Wai Gateway should be discouraged. Keeping them in their present land uses is a way to do so. Since we do not know how they will ultimately be designated, we urge you to adopt Bill 104, at least as a holding action, until such time as you are ready to comprehensively revise the planning and zoning o f Waikiki as a whole.

Most of the controversy that characterized the Feb. 15 Council meeting centered on the "Key Advisory Committee" (KAC), allegedly a community-based grass roots committee set up to work out a plan for redevelopment of the area, specifically of the blocks owned by the Kelly-Outrigger interests. The developer's legal representative, under repeated questioning by Council members, claimed that this was an open committee, that letters were sent to "everyone in the area" inviting them to participate, and that additional members were welcome.

Several other speakers, however, primarily members of the community and resident groups known to favor Bill 104, testified that they had never received any notification of formation of such a committee, that they had asked to join it and had been rejected, sometimes because "it was too late," sometimes because it was "up to the committee to decide" and presumably the committee had objections to their becoming members.

It also became known that the "facilitator" who was supposed to be helping the committee work out a feasible plan was an employee of the McCormick firm which was paid by the developer as a "project management team."

Several of the speakers who were members of the KAC admitted that they owned or rented apartments in the "Harbor View Plaza" which would be razed in the process of redevelopment, and that they had been promised free exchange of their apartments for a new one after redevelopment.

Council member Donna Kim and several other members sharply questioned those who opposed Bill 104. Council member Rene Mansho, however, said that she believed strongly in "community based planning" and thought the KAC should be given more time to come up with a plan acceptable to the community and the developer. There was no answer from the developer as to what would happen if the KAC came up with a plan the developer would not accept.

Arlene Ellis presented League's testimony at the Feb. 15 meeting:

Today this new City Council has the opportunity to reverse 1992's premature designation of this site for Resort Mixed Use. We congratulate you for recognizing that this decision was unwise and we are gratified that your Zoning Committee approved Bill 104 on Jan. 31.

You will shortly be considering the Waikiki Master Plan, which is now before the Mayor's Advisory Committee, as well as revisions to the Waikiki Special District Regulations to implement it. In the meantime, we think there should be no redevelopment in the Hobron Lane area and therefore call on you to DP designate it for its present Apartment Use. We urge you to adopt Bill 104 today.

Astrid Monson
Chair, Planning and Zoning Committee

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