A long-disputed land development project proposed for Central Oahu was approved Thursday morning by the State Land Use Commission.
The Koa Ridge Development Project was approved by unanimous consent during a regularly scheduled meeting, according to the executive officer of the commission.
After hearing testimony from opponents and supporters, the commission made a decision to approve the project, which now requires additional approval to determine the formalities of the project.
The Castle & Cooke project includes developing about 768 acres of agricultural land on either side of the H-2 Freeway.
According to the Castle & Cooke website, the $2.2 billion project will create 3,500 homes along with other community facilities such as a hospital and commercial center.
The creation of jobs is highlighted as a focal point of the development.
Opponents of the project, including Sen. Clayton Hee, The Sierra Club, and neighborhood boards in the affected areas, say that the increased traffic and loss of agricultural land make the project unfeasible.
Aloun Farms occupies about half of the 575 acres of land west of the H-2 Freeway. Castle & Cooke officials say they have a deal with Aloun Farms to relocate and are coordinating with the State Department of Transportation to deal with the impact of increased traffic.
Groundbreaking for Koa Ridge Makai is expected in 2013 and the first homes are likely ready for occupancy in 2015.
Representatives with Castle & Cooke indicated that while this is a "positive note, it is not a final vote."