North Shore vote falls short of opposing subdivision plan
A California development firm’s newest attempt at subdividing Oahu’s historic Dillingham Ranch ran into community resistance at a North Shore Neighborhood Board meeting Tuesday night, but the board didn’t end up with enough votes to oppose the project.
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A California development firm’s newest attempt at
subdividing Oahu’s historic Dillingham Ranch ran into community resistance at a North Shore Neighborhood Board meeting Tuesday night, but the board didn’t end up with enough votes
to oppose the project.
The new plan from
Kennedy Wilson Inc., which owns the 2,721-acre ranch in Mokuleia, reduces the number of home sites from 91 to 70. Total acreage of the farm lots dropped from 954 to 779, with individual lots ranging from 3 to 478 acres. The developer would encourage crop cultivation by giving owners a $12,000 credit to add orchard trees.
The proposal expands agricultural use by increasing space for horse pasturing and equestrian activities, a palm tree plantation, and a mango orchard. It preserves several cultural sites including the Silva House, which was on the property when
it was acquired in 1897 by Benjamin Franklin Dillingham, founder of Oahu Railway &Land Co.
The project also adds a 5-acre hydroponic farming site, and the developer
proposes to give Waialua schools $50,000 a year for
10 years to seed hydroponic farming education. The ranch’s former lodge would continue to be used for weddings, retreats and other activities.
Dave Eadie, a Kennedy
Wilson official, told the community that he could not estimate how much lots in the $80 million project would
sell for, but described the
revised plan as a way to
sustain and enhance the over-century-old ranch.
“The last one I didn’t
consider a terrible plan, but this one, I admit, is better,” Eadie said.
Association recently approved the project, said Thomas Shirai, who sits
on the North Shore Neighborhood Board and the
“Someday somebody with a lot deeper pockets than this, if you do not support this, is going to turn it into something huge,” Shirai said.
Still, a majority of community testifiers said they remain opposed to subdividing Dillingham Ranch. The testifiers said the subdivision could incite development of similar projects — which don’t require zoning changes — on huge pieces of Oahu farmlands. The expansive development would increase traffic and tax infrastructure, especially for the 100 or so residents who get their water from an archaic water system at Dillingham Ranch, they said.
“You are setting precedent. We basically have all new owners from Dillingham Airfield up to Schofield. Everyone is waiting to see who is first, and whoever gets it, opens the door to everybody,” said Mike Lyons, a member of the North Shore Neighborhood Board.
Kennedy Wilson’s draft environmental impact
statement is expected to
be transmitted to the Office of Environmental Quality Control in mid-August,
said HHF Planners Vice President Scott Ezer, a consultant for Kennedy Wilson.
The company will respond to comments and said it hopes by late fall to undergo a final city Department of Planning and Permitting review, Ezer said.
Five board members
opposed the project as
presented. However, the Tuesday opposition vote fell short of the eight needed. Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Kathleen Pahinui said the plan will be revisited during the draft’s 45-day comment period.
“We’ll look to see what happens once the draft EIS is out,” said Pahinui, who voted against the project. “I share the concerns of some of the community and board members that our infrastructure is already stretched.”
If the project advances, it will end nearly three decades of failed site redevelopment, which began in 1987 when Japan-based
Sankyo Tsusho Co. wanted to put a hotel and two golf courses there. Washington state-based Metropolitan Mortgage &Securities Co. bought most of the ranch
in 2002 but went bankrupt before completing plans for a private club or an equestrian-based community.
“Farrington Highway is
littered with the broken bodies of developers who wanted to put a resort at Dillingham Ranch,” Ezer said. “That has never been the intent of this owner.”
Kennedy Wilson, which acquired most of the ranch in 2006, proposed a 2008 plan to sell 77 house lots to buyers who would use their property to help graze the ranch’s cattle herd. DPP
tentatively approved the 2008 subdivision, but the Great Recession shelved it.
The company applied for a new subdivision permit in 2014, but it expired without approval in part because the state Agriculture Department said that plan perpetuated high-end estates that produced no agriculture on