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Wednesday, October 22, 2014         

ISLAND VOICES


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Hold Haseko accountable for promises made to Ewa Beach community

By Tim Tucker

POSTED:



Question: How to you get a community to support re-zoning agricultural land to build new homes in the area, and home buyers to purchase a home in your development?

Answer: Promise them a marina utopia where they can "Live, Work and Play," and promise them benefits including a $2 million trust fund to support youth and senior citizen groups.

The article about the Ewa Beach Lagoon was a huge slap in the face to anyone who supported the project ("Marina deleted from Ewa Beach resort," Star-Advertiser, Nov. 6).

Developer Haseko made such promises, and hundreds of Ewa Beach residents participated in the process and testified at numerous city and state hearings.

Support came from boaters, commuters excited by a promised ferry system, canoe paddlers, fishermen, divers, surfers, senior citizens, youth coaches and people looking for jobs.

This grassroots group was lauded by the City Council and received a coveted Kapolei Outstanding Achievement award for community service.

Community support helped Haseko gain approval of all the necessary permits to build the marina and homes. Haseko rode the upward cycle in home prices, and profited greatly. On Nov. 29, 1993, Haseko memorialized its promises and executed a unilateral agreement, titled 93-94, which included:

» A pedestrian pathway connecting Oneula Beach Park to the marina entrance.

» Providing 40 percent of golf tee times to Hawaii residents at kamaaina rates.

» Conveying to the city nine acres of beachfront land adjacent to Oneula Beach Park for use as a park.

» Providing $2 million to improve Oneula Beach Park.

» A 20-acre park to be provided at the entrance to the project.

» 50 percent of boat slips and seven launching ramps to be made available to the public.

» Dedicated public access.

» Providing a $2 million endowment to the Hawaii Community Foundation for youth and senior citizen programs.

» Dedicating one acre of land for a new fire station, equipped with rescue boat and trailer.

» Providing for a harbor master and staff.

» Submitting an annual report on the status of the unilateral agreement to the city Department of Land Utilization.

How many of these promises have been kept by Haseko?

Has a marina been built? Nope.

A 20-acre park? Nope.

Nine acres of oceanfront land for new park? Nope.

Two million dollars to upgrade Oneula Park? Nope.

A $2 million endowment for a community trust fund? Nope.

Provide 50 percent of boat slips and launch ramps for the general public? Nope.

Now, instead of the promised marina, Haseko wants to leave behind a closed borrow pit (it calls it a lagoon).

Imagine the millions Haseko will save not building the channel and marina. Imagine the money it will save by not keeping all its promises to the community.

Will the City and County, the state agencies and our current elected officials really allow or even assist this material breach of agreement to occur?

Will the residents who purchased homes in Ocean Pointe, Ewa Beach and the surrounding communities allow what appears to be a massive "bait and switch" to occur without saying anything?

The potential of unkept promises for the Ewa Beach community should serve as a warning to all communities dealing with developers making promises. All promises should be directly linked to building permit approvals, period.

The City and County and state government agencies should immediately step in to enforce the unilateral agreement and Haseko should be held to account.

This reeks of deceptive sales activity, conspiracy to commit fraud on the community and on the city. Perhaps there should also be a criminal investigation.

Maybe a class-action lawsuit is also in order here for the thousands of homebuyers who were duped into buying under false pretenses — marketing brochures and newsletters — that a marina was going to be completed.






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