POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 7, 2010
I want to preface this commentary with the disclaimer that I am a lifetime member of the Surfrider Foundation, past president of the Sunset Beach Community Association and financial contributor to the Sierra Club, all of which are part of a coalition opposing D.G. "Andy" Anderson's proposed hotel development in Haleiwa.
It is my belief that these groups have it all wrong, and I seriously question whether their leadership represents their members. In my case, they certainly don't, and I'd like to explain why I support this project.
As a resident of the North Shore since 1968, I have seen all the changes come and go over the past 40-plus years. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I supported the city's effort of setting aside property and "land banking" for future parks. The wisdom and foresight of visionaries such as the late Don Griffin to obtain future park lands was to be lauded. Of these acquisitions, we have the potential for future North Shore beach parks to be developed in areas such as Laniakea, Chun's Reef, Uppers and Velzyland.
The question is: When, if ever, will these "parks" be developed? As it is, the North Shore's Haleiwa Beach Park and Koolauloa region have four out of the six worst "high hazard priority rating" beach parks, according to Sea Engineering Inc.'s survey of 62 Oahu beach parks. With no money to fix the existing parks on the beach side of Kamehameha Highway, it is highly unlikely there will be any money allocated to ones off the beach.
In regards to the Anderson project, the parcel in question is a 3.277-acre, city-designated "remnant" that, while acquired in good intent in the late '60s by the city, has been determined to be no longer a viable option as a park, due to high cost of development; it is a wetlands subject to flooding. Originally it was envisioned as the Haleiwa Regional Park on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway, to complement Haleiwa Beach Park across the highway on the beach. This potential park will never be developed by the city.
With Anderson's proposal, this piece of property could become a well-manicured "Gateway to Haleiwa" and be developed at Anderson's expense, as a 2-acre private- public community park. This would include safety crosswalks and public parking, which would complement Haleiwa Beach Park across the highway. The community could use it for a variety of events, including a farmers market, Hawaiian cultural exhibits, art fairs, fundraisers, concerts or any number of activities. The community would get its "park" with no expense to the Honolulu Parks Department or taxpayers.
A win-win for everyone.
As for Anderson's "Haleiwa Hotel," it meets the North Shore Sustainable Community Plan, the Haleiwa Town Plan and the Haleiwa Special District Plan, and brings a quality project for much-needed visitor demand in the appropriate area. Along with upgrades to Haleiwa such as burying utility lines and providing sidewalks, the hotel itself would be well-utilized by locals and visitors alike, providing Haleiwa with a complementary addition to the ambiance for which the North Shore is famous.
It is my opinion that this is a project that will enhance both Haleiwa and the North Shore and would be an asset to the community.