OHA renews push to lift ban on residential development

Published On: Feb 06 2014 05:51:49 PM HST   Updated On: Feb 06 2014 06:59:08 PM HST

Flashback to  a powerful pushback.

In 2006, the opposition over the sale of Kakakako Makai lands to Alexander & Baldwin for luxury condominiums changed the way people looked at the waterfront.  

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's story.  

But is it any different now that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs holds title to a good chunk of the prime real estate?

"We understand better than anyone, what constitutes bad development. So the first ones who are going to march against us if we don’t do this right, is our own people," said OHA trustee Peter Apo.

OHA would like to keep its lands along Kewalo Basin and Point Panic open for a public promenade.

And while it only recently acquired title to the lands, it has been approached by Howard Hughes Development, Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery, as well as national and foreign companies for the old Fisherman’s Wharf corner.

OHA says it needs the ability for mixed-use development to make its Kakaako lands worth the $200 million settlement of a crown lands lawsuit.

"We cannot achieve a sustainable value with the current restrictions," said OHA chief operating officer Kawika Burgess.

Several years ago lawmakers voted to block residential development makai of Ala Moana Boulevard.

But OHA cautioned to not assume luxury high-rises are what's in mind.

"If we do residential, it is going to include looking at the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, working for kupuna housing and working for housing for young couples," said Apo.

"We are not considering high-rise condos on the waterfront. We are looking at mixed uses, and continuing to allow access and ocean recreational uses and those are some of the ways we are looking to alleviate those concerns," said Burgess.

Bills to allow it to proceed with a residential development ask that OHA only hold a single public hearing before submitting plans to the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

But OHA's announcement comes as that agency is already under siege as bills to limit its authority are being heard this weekend

OHA is to begin a master plan process and will seek public input later this month.



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