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Symphony tower wins variance on orientation of new condo

By Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 02:47 p.m. HST, May 02, 2012

A developer won state approval today to position a Kakaako high-rise condominium in a way that deviates from a new rule intended to preserve mauka-makai views.

The planned 400-foot Symphony Honolulu luxury condo was granted a variance from a tower orientation rule of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency governing development in Kakaako.

The rule, which became effective in November, requires that the long side of towers run parallel to the nearest of five mauka-makai streets — Punchbowl, South, Cooke, Ward and Piikoi — within an allowed 20-degree deviation.

Symphony Honolulu's developer, San Diego-based OliverMcMillan, asked to build the tower with the long side parallel to the Ewa-Diamond Head direction. The company said characteristics of its lot restricted it from the highest and best use of the site under the rule.

HCDA's board voted 10-1 to approve the variance. The $380 million project still needs a development permit from the agency, though the variance request was a controversial preliminary issue that needed to be considered first.

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Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
It would be beneficial if this article provided the state agency's rationale for granting the variance. On another note, frankly, it makes sense to allow this variance b/c most, if not all, the buildings in the subject area are already situated Ewa-to-Koko Head, so it wouldn't make much, if any, difference to have a new building that way too. Had this rule been in effect, oh say back in the 1950's, then that's a different story....
on May 2,2012 | 11:53AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Rules? I don't need no steenkin rules.
on May 2,2012 | 12:05PM
false wrote:
I notice you're commenting in just about every SA article with a juvenile snide one liner. It would help if you can contribute some substance. Grow up!
on May 2,2012 | 02:12PM
Graham wrote:
Sometimes a one-liner is all that's needed.
on May 2,2012 | 03:14PM
Shawn211 wrote:
Why have rules, when you can make a "sweet deal" (HCDC) for yourself. Believe me some on that board or family related to the board is going to get a nice condo with a view for a cheap price.
on May 2,2012 | 12:22PM
glory_glory_man_utd wrote:
So what is the point of having laws if every lobbyist/ developer can just get things changed to suit their plans? What the F are we doing here guys?
on May 2,2012 | 12:34PM
h20dragon wrote:
The question should be asked, " If the first project to come before the board to request a variance from rules just passed in 2011 is allowed to deviate from the rules, how good are the rules? Were they even thought out? How many more properties will be "eligible" to qualify for a variance given the rationale for why the preferred orientation does not allow for the highest and best use of the property?" I thought this was about "quality of life" and not looking like canyons on the main roadways in the area?
on May 2,2012 | 12:53PM
McCully wrote:
I guess nine members wallets are packed with cash today. Not only that, they probably got a deal on the condos. Stay tuned if these members are owners.
on May 2,2012 | 01:02PM
popaa wrote:
Why have rules when variances to these rules will be granted carte blanche???
on May 2,2012 | 02:44PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
The purpose of the people making the rules is so that they have leverage for obtaining bribes, graft, apartments etc.,
on May 2,2012 | 07:09PM
frontman wrote:
You grease the right palms, democrat political donations of course, and they will ok anything for the right amount of money.
on May 2,2012 | 03:08PM
luvshawaii wrote:
Does anybody care about Oahu, or is it just about money. Prostitution of another kind. Enough already!!
on May 2,2012 | 03:20PM
Changalang wrote:
3 cheers for the proper application of the Aloha Spirit. This developer knows how to do things right. :)
on May 2,2012 | 03:52PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Got to love the "artist renderings". No other buildings even close to the Towers. This like the Alexander & Baldwin development on Queen Street where the artist rendering neglects to include the Hokua, Koolani, Hawaiiki Tower and 1350 Ala Moana which surround the site.
on May 2,2012 | 04:35PM
whs1966 wrote:
Why have any zoning regulations or boards? Just let the developers do what they want to make a quick buck!
on May 2,2012 | 04:41PM
whs1966 wrote:
Who are the members of the HCDA? What are their "qualifications" to make decisions that effect the rest of us? What are their business connections?
on May 2,2012 | 04:45PM
pakeheat wrote:
I had posted an earlier comment and I guess it was deleted, guarantee it will pass, I TOLD YOU SO, LOL.
on May 2,2012 | 05:04PM
Molokaiheart wrote:
HCDA's board is no match for the developers team, they are just too well organized and can make the boards members bark and sit on command...no different than HART and the rail contractors.
on May 2,2012 | 07:17PM
sjean wrote:
I finally understand why some residents of Molokai use the tactics they do. Common sense and the rule of law no longer mean a damn thing to the hui running Oahu.
on May 2,2012 | 07:53PM
entrkn wrote:
So the greedy corrupt Hawaii Community Development Authority finds that a greedy corrupt developers profits are too important to abide by that pesky rule that buildings be constructed perpendicular to the shoreline to the view for everyone else...
on May 2,2012 | 11:04PM
Mike174 wrote:
Of course! If you are a big developer... with deep pockets.. all you have to do is apply for a variance... and it will be approved.....But if you are a regular home owner... Ha, ha... for get it! No pay: No play!
on July 17,2013 | 01:03PM
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