comscore State Supreme Court approves Koa Ridge housing project | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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State Supreme Court approves Koa Ridge housing project


    Developer Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii envisions a spacious village center at the heart of Koa Ridge community, to be built on farmland between Waipio and Mililani.


    The area just north of Costco in Waipio on which corn is grown will become the proposed Koa Ridge project.

Hawaii’s highest court ruled today that an initial phase of the planned Koa Ridge residential community in Central Oahu may proceed.

The 4-1 decision ended more than three years of litigation and was welcomed by the project’s developer Castle & Cooke Hawaii, but was a disappointment for opponents of the controversial development plan.

“We are very pleased with today’s Supreme Court’s ruling that will allow Castle & Cooke to move forward with its long anticipated Koa Ridge master-planned community,” Harry Saunders, the company’s president, said in a statement.

Castle & Cooke said it anticipates starting construction next year and delivering the first initial homes in the last quarter of 2018.

An initial phase of Koa Ridge allows up to 3,500 homes between Mililani and Waipio. The state Land Use Commission granted approval in 2012 for Castle & Cooke to convert 768 acres from agricultural to urban use as a first major step in the project’s regulatory approval process. A second phase with 1,500 homes is planned but has not received necessary approvals to proceed.

The LUC decision was made over arguments from the Sierra Club, a state Senator at the time, Clayton Hee, and the longtime chairman of the Mililani Neighborhood Board, Richard Poirier.

The Sierra Club and Hee appealed the LUC decision to state Circuit Court on grounds that the commission’s decision breached a constitutional mandate to preserve agricultural lands and that the state failed to establish rules designating important agricultural lands. Castle & Cooke won the initial appeal that now has been upheld by the state’s high court.

The company obtained zoning approvals from the City Council in 2013.

Today’s ruling follows a similar decision the Hawaii Supreme Court made in December regarding the 11,750-home Ho‘opili project in Ewa by developer D.R. Horton.

Horton began doing some initial grading work about two weeks ago, though a formal groundbreaking ceremony is planned for this summer after the developer obtains permits for roads and other infrastructure plans.

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    • Local politicians have destroyed the island. Taking money hand over fist, we don’t have the ability to process the sewage we create now, nor do we have the roadway necessary to stop being the second worse traffic congested city in the nation. Way to go judiciary! I guess they let you dip your beaks plenty.

      • Watched morning news today at 7:45 a.m.(Thursday) and traffic reporter said drivers coming in from Mililani and Waianae areas should expect 1 hour and 30 minute drives to town. Traffic cam on Ka Uka Blvd. overpass on H2 south, showed cars backed up even BEFORE you reach the overpass from Mililani direction. They still have to go to H1/H2 merge. After Hoopili and Koa Ridge is pau, expect LONGER than 1 hour 30 minutes drive times to town from Mililani and Waianae areas.

    • HAJAA1, Koa Ridge was not about rail some 15 years ago when we, LIUNA, began working for the planning and zoning approval. Included in this project was the relocation of the Wahiawa General Hospital to expand services for Sports medicine. Excellent Supreme Court Decision.

      • Yes it is Hawaiian lands.but America is playing dumb.they invaded hawaii which is a war annexation no treay.its in the books..look good..

        • The USA never invaded Hawaii. The Queen was overthrown in a domestic coup d’etat. These lands were privately owned/are privately owned and do not belong to “Hawaiians” or anyone else.

        • Eh Allie read good dummy. .it’s in the books and it’s on record so keep quiet gueen never surrendered she was forced by your military and it is a war crime. .no get dumb..

        • Queen owned 1.8 million acres of land.america no like tell the truth but that’s ok ignorant people like u will eventually be moving back to America when we win in court..U.N courts..start packing..

        • Just like how the USA never invaded the Mandan lands. The tribe was overthrown in a domestic coup d’etat and should not hold claim to any land.

        • hailama – Unlike Native Americans who can trace their heritage back thousands of years, Hawaiians were not endemic to the islands. Mere ocean going travelers who called the islands home. Nothing more.

          JARP again. Laughable.

        • Local guy u must be from america..or u came from another country disowned them and ran away..nice fake people like the way Hawaiians go just as far back as the Indians in fact they came from afar just like us so do better research and stop playing with yourself..

    • You must be one of those Hawaiians sitting around always waiting…….waiting……waiting, but nothing ever happens in their lives LOL. Then they cry that they have no income.

    • What about where the Hawaiians build homes on Hawaiian Home Lands? Would mother nature touch those or just let them fall down from poor construction and lack of maintenance?

      • Well it’s our land all 8 islands but your govt committed a war crime and no annexation and no treaty so I would just shut up and move income no need get food in the ocean and on land..o of course giving jobs to foreigners. .nice people..

    • You were wrong, the democrats influence every aspect of government in Hawaii, including the supreme court. They even got them to remove the prohibition on Hawaii lawyers representing marijuana permit applicants. Now that’s influence when you can get the court to allow lawyers to break state and federal law.

  • Build build no land for my keikis.wickedness of our sad the first island to sink great job u idiots.america really wants to kill our people so we can’t get anything back.the power of our God I’m sure he will help us and take the evil out of hawaii.Gods country..

  • Mahalo for the ABSOLUTE destruction of this island! And don’t bore me with a comment about how we need more houses. This is an island with finite land and resources, period. The Mililani town center has a lot of empty space, the Mililani Town Florist moved to the small Mauka shopping center due to the mainland owner raising the rent. OBTW their former space is still vacant, and they moved over a year ago.

    OBTW still only ONE landfill on this island. Where are they going to place another landfill? Good grief build, build, build……Hawaii ’78

  • Oh well, now going get hundreds if not thousands more cars on H1 after Hoopili and Koa Ridge pau. Coming/going on H2 going be choke cars, too. Get prepared to be stuck in traffic during morning and pau hana time. In fact, ANYTIME…

    • even with the highly questionable and laughably touted choo-choo twain, the traffic it was supposed to help mitigate will NOT DIMINISH one iota as more developments proliferate in the area. interestingly enough though, the article did/does mention the addition of new infrastructure within and for the development. but it will eventually and somehow be attached somewhere to the present existing overly burdened city-wide water supply and sewage disposal system, will it not? decreased state watershed (farmland) equates to decreased water supply to our natural aquifer and filtration system. compound that with the higher demand from the higher population density in the area. the entire water cycle system will be negatively affected – somehow! watch!!! we cannot continue to mess with mother nature! something will have to give! we have lost sight of all balance.

  • On the assumption that ever will be an operating “RAIL”; you won’t be able to get to a Rail-Station for all the traffic and people. More importantly–where is the INFRASTRUCTURE, DRINKNG WATER, SEWAGE-SYSTEMS, and ingress/egress ROADWAYS?

  • We need to first control growth, build the infrastructure, and keep in mind we have limited water and land resources. We keep developing but the infrastructure does not change. This is a recipe for disaster in the long run except for those making big bucks off of the people of Oahu. We need to look beyond our noses.

  • Just because the SSC handed down that decision doesn’t mean–if we had honest and effective government–City Planning, Building Department, DOT, and other City and State departments can’t effectuate very strict guidelines to insure that all public and environmental concerns are served. But, this is HAWAII GOVERNMENT and already the palms of all the maligned politicians are itching to get their respective pay-offs…

    • Blame yourselves for electing these crooks. These politicians were put in place by you. HGEA and other unions just following down the same path for years, dont grumble when Hawaii of old is gone. Democratic governors placed everyone on the Land Use Commission board allowing these ag lands to be rezoned for pennies on the dollar. Blame the Hawaiians for not stopping this? Look at our legislature and tell me what ethnicity is prominent. Look at our Governor, Lt Governor, Etc. Plantation workers have risen to take this land down to nothing, just like the land they escaped from.

      • Poem by Haunani-Kay Trask:

        Between coastal heiau castrated nui, shorn of fruit and flower, fawning.

        From the ancestral shore, tlack-tlack of lava stones, massaged by tidal seas:

        Eternal kanikau for long- forgotten ali’i, entombed beneath grandiose hotels
        mocked by crass amusements

        Japanese machines and the common greed of vulgar Americans.

      • I agree, Hawaii voters deserve exactly what our corrupt politicians and their special interests (developers, unions, monopolies) are doing to this state. They re-elect the same fools each election cycle and hold onto the false hope that things will eventually get better. In reality, our problems only get worse and have been for the last 25 years or so.

  • Money talks. Need I say more. This place is going to be hell for those who do not have the means to live here in the very near future.
    May be time to bail elsewhere where you have a chance to make a life. That time is long gone here.

  • Another big win for Caldwell and his developer friends!!!!!! Let’s get rid of every last inch of open space and Ag land on Oahu. We can be Hong Kong after all.

  • Very disappointing. Traffic will be worse although it’s already very bad. “They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum. Then they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em. Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

  • While there will be a shift in where people live, this development will not necessarily be creating additional burden on the infrastructure. The people who buy homes in places like Mililani or Kapolei generally already live here. It’s just that they now live under their parent’s roof. They’ll still be drinking the same amount of water and flushing the toilet the same number of times, except that they’ll now live in Koa Ridge instead of Mililani, Kapolei or Pearl City. People from the mainland, China, Japan, and Korea won’t be standing in line to buy these homes like the ones in Kakaako that pander to off-shore buyers. These will be homes for working class local people who already live here

  • Was there any doubt that Koa Ridge wouldn’t be approved by the Supreme Court? It was a done deal that this development would be approved because of so much political tactics involved and only one justice used some common sense. These justices that voted 4-1 are just as politically involved as the rest of the elected and appointed officials of this state. They’re just as human as any Tom,Dick and Harry, put on their pants the same way, but the only thing is that they’re in a position that elevates them on the pedestal, with power to approve or disapprove issues for “we the people, for the people and by the people. Hopefully, whenever this development is completed, the justices that approved this development would not regret the chaos it will bring to the Westside..overcrowding, increased traffic congestion (infrastructure not able to accommodate the increased number of vehicles on the roadways) and insufficient city amenities. People that do purchase a home in Koa Ridge have no room to complain about the negatives that this development will create…it’s all about making the right choice.

  • This is some of the best ag land in the state. The politicians talk about sustainably but when the envelopes are big enough it is not that important.

  • This is a reflection of what people want– electing pro business and pro development legislators and governor instead of those who want to preserve agriculture and conservation lands and keep people out of those areas. Maybe still too much big business influence in Hawaii and that is why we have the rail and more development and big tax breaks for owners of commercial real estate who pay no taxes in Hawaii.

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