One vote by the Hawaii Community Development Authority could've advanced the Howard Hughes plan to add 100 more boat slips and millions of dollars worth of harbor improvements at Kewalo Basin.
"We spent a lot of time and resources to get to this point we think we have a fair deal and we truly look forward to making it a place the entire community can be proud of," said Howard Hughes Corporation Senior Vice-President David Striphe.
But questions and concerns from the public remain.
"What it will entail, and how it will benefit the public, and how much public communication and input there will be once the contract is signed?" said Michelle Matson, a founding member of the Kakaako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council
Will they dredge beyond the current 17- 20 feet? The HCDA board said no.
Will commercial boaters be squeezed out. Again, HCDA said no.
"I think for the public’s mind we would prefer you defer this vote. Give us a chance to understand a little more about what this proposal is all about," said Wayne Takamine, a co-founder of the Kakaako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council.
This current round of negotiations with Howard Hughes does not include a fenced area on the peninsula recently vacated by NOAA scientists. Park and ocean users are wary of what might replace the dilapidated structures.
There is some talk of a restaurant although nothing has been finalized.
"It is going to limit our parking here and limit and I don’t know how it’s going to affect traffic coming into the park," said Roy Horikawa, who has been surfing Kewalo’s since the 70’s.
The developer plans to use the next 10 months to reach out to the community with ideas to rework the Makai end of the harbor as part of a draft environmental assessment.
Meanwhile HCDA said plans for a city and county lifeguard facility---possibly a floating dock for its jet ski team--- could still materialize in the area as soon as August.
After a two hour closed door discussion, the board voted to delay action on the Kewalo lease, although the board declined to say specifically what the hangup was.
"Given the complexity of a lease of this kind, it was not as clear as it the authority would like it to be," said HCDA executive director Tony Ching.
The framework for the deal calls for $20 million worth of harbor improvements.
The developer is to pay the HCDA base rent as well a portion of the profits.
The agreement calls for renegotiation of terms after 35 years.
Ching said if staff can clarify the general terms of the agreement, the issue could come before the board again in two weeks.