Hundreds of residents pack a neighborhood board meeting to oppose the proposal
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 29, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 10:46 p.m. HST, Oct 1, 2010
|This story has been corrected.|
More than 250 people packed a North Shore Neighborhood Board meeting last night, most of them opposed to a boutique hotel proposed to be built on city-owned preservation land in Haleiwa.
The meeting abruptly adjourned about 40 minutes after it began when one opponent, Peter Cole of the newly formed Save Haleiwa Beach Park Coalition, spoke in opposition. But residents continued discussion about the hotel even after the session ended, and residents stood outside the Haleiwa Surf Center, where the meeting was held because it was filled to capacity.
Developer D.G. "Andy" Anderson wants to build an 80-room hotel on land mauka of Kamehameha Highway, but residents oppose the city's selling of the land for the project.
Cole said the city should retain the parcels as preservation land. "I want it understood that a lot of people in this community are against selling public parks land," he said.
Board Chairman Mike Lyons said he had called on another community member to speak, but Cole spoke ahead of the resident. "It was a disservice to everyone," said Lyons of Cole's interruption. "We were going to follow protocol."
After the meeting, people continued to come up to Anderson expressing support or opposition. Anderson said the project would benefit the community by generating 110 jobs and more property taxes. But opponents say the parcels should remain zoned as preservation land and that development of a hotel would only increase congestion on Kamehameha Highway.
Lyons said he and other board members will decide whether they plan to reschedule the discussion on the plan in next month's meeting.
The coalition, made up of groups that include Hui o Hee Nalu, Sunset Beach Community Association and Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter, collected about 1,500 signatures to petition the city to keep the parcels as preservation land. The coalition also created a Facebook page to gather support against the proposed plan.
Robert Harris, director of the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter, who was not at the meeting, said there is a concern about giving away public land for private development. One of the most valuable resources the city has is public land, he said.
"It's a tremendous resource we should be protective of. Once it's given away, we're not going to get it back," Harris said.
The city acquired the land in the late 1960s from Bishop Estate, Market Center Ltd./Island Federal Savings & Loan Association of Honolulu and other private landowners to expand the Haleiwa Regional Park. The expansion, however, never occurred.
In presenting his plan to build a replica of the old Haleiwa Hotel, which was demolished in the 1950s, Anderson said, "I have a dream. I have a concept. I want to restore and bring back the hotel."
"I think it could be an icon for Haleiwa," he said.
Anderson told the city in May of his interest in buying a single city-owned parcel next to Jameson's by the Sea restaurant, which he bought last month.
He wants to replicate the hotel, but the land he owns is not large enough for the hotel.
The city was not interested in selling one parcel, but is considering selling six parcels as a group to abutting property owners. The city has no plan to develop or use the parcels, which have remained undeveloped for more than 40 years.
On the land, Anderson plans to build what he called a "private-public park" next to the hotel for activities such as luaus and weddings.
For the project, the city would require Anderson to install at least 25 to 30 parking stalls, a crosswalk, street lighting and a walkway totaling an estimated $800,000. Construction of a waste-water system and underground utility lines are estimated to cost $1.65 million.
CORRECTION» The city acquired six parcels in Haleiwa in the late 1960s from Bishop Estate, Market Center Ltd./Island Federal Savings & Loan Association of Honolulu and other private landowners. Articles on Page B1 Tuesday and last Saturday reported that Castle & Cooke was one of the landowners.