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Viewpoint

"Greed could sink Waikiki" was headlined in a recent "Island Voices" article. William Johnson was referring to the amendments to relax density restrictions in the present Waikiki Special District zoning regulations being pushed by the city administration. Intended to make Waikiki open and Green, enjoyable by pedestrians, expressing a Hawaiian sense of place – the amendments could do just the opposite.

Few have read the detailed and complicated proposed amendments and even fewer understand them. They're based on premises that Waikiki's hotels and other buildings are going downhill because current regulations make it unprofitable to renovate or rebuild them and that the only solution is to change the regulations to permit higher densities.

The current regulations were adopted 25 years ago, supported unanimously by Waikiki residents, visitor industry, properly owners and state and city governments – all of whom felt that the increasingly excessive density for development and over-crowding were threatening Waikiki's future as a vacation resort.

In parts of Waikiki, the amendments now propose that non-conforming buildings be allowed to rebuild not only at its present excessive densities, but with 20% more. In some areas this could mean a doubling or tripling of presently permitted densities.

The density issue is only one of the aspects of the amendments that need to be understood. We think Little Red Riding Hood had better take a good look at sweet old grandmama's teeth.

[n.b. Newsletter article was (mis-titled?) "Viewpoint on Public Radio"]

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