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Council committee OKs Oahu sidewalk bills

By Gordon Pang

LAST UPDATED: 5:05 p.m. HST, Aug 28, 2014

Five bills making it more difficult for the homeless to stay on Oahu sidewalks advanced out of the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee Thursday after more than four hours of public testimony.

The Caldwell administration, meanwhile, said it is in talks with the state to establish a temporary site at Sand Island that will allow homeless individuals and families to set up tents and receive various services from human service providers.

City Managing Director Ember Shinn said the site would be open only until the city can provide more permanent housing options for the homeless under its Housing First program. She estimated that would take a year to 18 months.

Shinn stressed that the site would not be a "safe zone" but would include myriad services including security, transportation, hygiene centers, storage space and other amenities.

Shinn also said the city will open up a secured, 24-hour restroom in Waikiki near Kuhio Beach in mid-September.

The five bills approved:

>> Bill 42, banning sitting and lying on public sidewalks in Waikiki 24 hours a day.

>> Bill 43, prohibiting urinating and defecating in public in Waikiki.

>> Bill 45, banning sitting and lying on public sidewalks throughout Oahu, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

>> Bill 46, barring urinating and defecating in public areas throughout Oahu.

>> Bill 48, prohibiting sitting and lying on public sidewalks in six zones in six business districts from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The first four bills are expected to be up for a final vote at the full Council's September meeting. Bill 48 still needs two votes of the Council.

Caldwell prefers the Waikiki-only bills, but said he is open to considering the islandwide measures if they come to his desk.

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