Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hawaii Kai Planned Development in Kalama Valley

On my web site in July, Hawaii Kai Local News, I reported on the proposed development in Kalama Valley, just over the hill from the main center of Hawaii Kai, of 26 duplex units near the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.

The Honolulu Dept. of Planning and Permitting this last week approved a cluster housing permit for the 26 homes. As designed, the homes would be 1,600 - 1,900 SF constructed in one duplex and 6 4-plex buildings up to 24' high. On an included half acre, developers would build a recreational facility with a pool.

The developer is Pololei Partners LLC, a company formed in 2007 and managed by James McWhorter of Orem, UT. The 2.9 acres of land is owned by Plate Lunch Properties LLC, managed by Bob Gerell and Bill McCorriston. According to the Staradvertiser, Gerell has developed other Oahu projects, including Aloha Tower Marketplace, Enchanted Lake Center, and Maunakea Marketplace.

The paper reports, "In recent years much of Gerell's work has been in Hawaii Kai, sometimes acquiring land and obtaining entitlements then selling the project to another developer for completion. The 60-home Kaluanui subdivision and 35 homes across from Safeway in Hawaii Kai were built this way. Gerell, along with McCorriston, was also involved with a now-stalled plan for a Hawaii Kai cemetery, and a derailed plan to build 180 vacation cabins and recreational facilities on the hills above Hawaii Kai Golf Course and Kalama Valley."

Not all Hawaii Kai residents are enthusiastic about the increased density. Community opposition to any development there dates back to the 1980s, when the land was scheduled as an extension of Hawaii Kai Drive running by Queen's Beach and including hotel and condos in addition to the golf course. This uproar eventually led to the preservation of Queen's Beach and the Ka Iwi Coast, recently confirmed by Gov. Lingle. The proposed project borders 9+ homes which have enjoyed scenic views of the golf course for many years, and which would loose that view.

In its decision, the Dept. of Planning and Permitting branch showed no concern over the development, regarding it as "in-fill development encouraged by the city's East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan. The city in its approval subjected the project to several conditions, including increasing the space between buildings to better maintain the character of the neighborhood and provide more mauka-makai views," as explained by the Staradvertiser (see their article for a map of the area.)

If you have an opinion on this development, contact your Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board representative, or the Department, or even the mayor's office to find out what will be the next step in the approval process.

Barbara Abe, Realtor