Open space or new Hawaii Kai mall?

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jul 31 2012 10:15:00 PM HST

The effort to bring a supermarket back to Hawaii Kai could prove to be difficult.

HONOLULU -

The Hawaii Kai neighborhood board is throwing the spotlight on a plan to develop prime land acoss from Maunalua Bay with Foodland as a possible anchor tenant.

Some call it the "great lawn."

It is four acres  along the highway that is zoned for preservation.  But, residents who use the adjacent dog park fear they may be displaced by a new Foodland store.

"Having Foodland back would be a good thing, but not at the expense of the dog park," said Musashi Cibulka.

"We don't need another shopping center, but I think we need more dog parks," said Sherri Higa.

Pet owners stopped at the park before heading to the Tuesday evening meeting to speak their minds.

"It's just not going to work.  They are going to move us down to that small space down there and you get a small space, you get dog fights," said Sally Flinn.  "We want Foodland back, just not here."

"I would be really sad and disappointed if they developed this area but we live in a society where if you own the land you get to do with what behooves you to do the best to do with that land," said Linda Vanatta.

"Adding another shopping center with the traffic on Kalanianaole would be horrible. It's going to cause traffic jams, and more traffic accidents," said Nicolas Bromolow.

At the neighborhood board meeting Tuesday night, members were taking up a resolution to support the community's sustainability plan, which calls for preserving open spaces and limiting the expansion of commercial activity.

“We are not specifically addressing the plan about putting Foodland on the parcel, but rather how important the zoning is for preservation status and whether that should be maintained.  We have always supported preservation of existing zoning and open space and protecting view planes and just really the quality of life back here that makes Hawaii Kai so special," said Board Chairman Greg Knudsen.

Those looking to represent the area were ready to weigh in on the controversy.

"The landowner needs to be upfront with the community with what the proposals are.  The reason why people are huhu is people don’t know what is going on," said Laura Thielen, who is making a run for a Senate seat representing part of the Hawaii Kai area.

"I do support a second grocer in this area, but I find it hard that Kalama would be an option," said Sen. Pohai Ryan.

"Hawaii Kai loves Foodland, but Hawaii Kai loves its community more. That great lawn is the signature piece of this community," said Rep. Gene Ward.

Foodland was not on hand for the meeting, even though members say the company was invited to attend.  Kamehameha Schools had a representative at the meeting.  The school says she was sent to indicate to the board and the community that Kamehameha Schools is interested in receiving public input on future use of the property.   Both Foodland and Kamehameha Schools have said proposals to build a build on the property are in the preliminary stages.

The estate said it suggested the parcel fronting Kalanianaole Highway after it was approached by Foodland to find another home in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood.

Kamehameha Schools said it expects the results of its survey of area residents to be complete by the end of next month.  It plans to share the poll with the neighborhood board at a future date.  It also plans to meet with small groups to listen to their concerns and ideas to try and shape plans for the property.

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