Hundreds lined the street to oppose residential development

Published On: Mar 08 2014 05:42:16 PM HST   Updated On: Mar 09 2014 06:22:09 PM HST

Streets were lined with red in Kakaako to fight housing development.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.

Hundreds lined the street to oppose residential development in the waterfront area of Kakaako. The demonstrators said it's one of the last open spaces along the south shore, Kakaako makai, and it should be kept like that.

"If we don't watch out as a community then it's going to be like another Manhattan. It's going to go haywire without people coming out all across our state saying that's not right, that's not Hawaii," said Sharon Moriwaki with Kakaako United.

"Our group here believes in the law that was passed in 2006 which prohibits any type of residential development on the makai lands," said Ron Iwami with Friend of Kewalos.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has control of about 30 acres and wants that restriction lifted. OHA said it should be making revenue that matches a $200 million land investment but is only getting $1.5 million a year.

One bill now before the state House would allow residential use of three of the 10 OHA lots. Another bill would allow residential development on all of the OHA properties. But OHA officials have promised to not put up residential units on the waterfront near Kewalo basin.

"We are looking to balance commerce and culture, we are not willing to give in to any of our cultural values or limit access to waterfront," said Kawika Burgess with OHA.

Another concern: height limits. OHA wants to build up to 400 feet in the area, 200 feet more than the current limit.

"That's consistent with other plans and development in the immediate area in Kakaako that allow for 400-foot height limit for commercial properties there," said Burgess.

"It scares me because that means they want to build skyskrapers just like what's happening on the mauka side," said Iwami.

The Senate bill with amendments will be heard by the House on Monday. Friends of Kewalos is planning another rally for April.


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