A plan that would allow up to 400 additional housing units in Laie won a preliminary 5-0 approval from the Honolulu City Council Planning Committee this afternoon.
The latest draft of the Koolauloa Sustainable Communities Plan, Bill 1 (2017), will now go to the full Council for a second reading. If approved there, it would still need to go back to the Planning Committee for a second round and a final, third reading vote of the full Council.
Under the draft, proposed by Council Planning Chairman Ikaika Anderson, 200 additional units would be allowed on BYUH property as well as 200 more units in what’s being described as “North Laie,” at the Laie-Malaekahana border.
The proposal led to a standing-room-only crowd in the Council committee room. A throng of others stood or sat in the hallway outside. Those supporting expansion wore blue, “Envision Laie” T-shirts while people on the other side wore green “Keep the Country Country” T-shirts.
Kathy Sokugawa, the city’s acting planning director, testified that her department backs the plan.
The Koolauloa plan is supposed to guide any growth for the area from Kawela Bay to Kaaawa, but it’s the Malaekahana-Laie section that’s drawn the most disagreement and split the community.
One segment argues there’s a need for more housing, and affordable housing in particular, in the area and supports HRI Inc.’s expansion for Brigham Young University-Hawaii and Laie. Another part of the community, led by the Defend Oahu Coalition, argues that the rural character of the area needs to be preserved and that more housing will overburden the two-lane Kamehameha Highway and other infrastructure in the area.