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City Council approves Koa Ridge development plan

    The 576-acre Koa Ridge Makai project will build 3

Koa Ridge, a plan allowing Castle & Cooke Homes to build up to 3,500 homes and develop commercial areas between Waipio and Mililani, was approved 9-0 by the City Council Wednesday. 

Council members Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor voted with reservations, citing lingering concerns about traffic and the affordability of homes in the project.

The Sierra Club Hawaii chapter, which has long opposed the project, has two pending legal challenges to the project.

Castle & Cooke vice president Bruce Barrett said the company is confident it can overcome those appeals. If so, groundbreaking is scheduled for 2015 with the first homes available for occupancy in 2016.

Supporters of the project, including representatives from various labor and trade unions, said the project will bring badly needed homes and jobs to the area.

Opponents said the project will take away agricultural lands and open space, and add to the traffic problems in the area.

The developer has agreed to $100 million in traffic improvements, including a new "Pineapple Road" H-2 Freeway interchange between the existing Ka Uka and Mililani interchanges. It also agreed to provide a 90 percent subsidy for an annual bus pass for those purchasing homes at Koa Ridge.

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