Community concerns sway councilmember’s vote

Local News

A tightly knit community in Kaneohe scored a victory tonight.

Residents are against a plan to rezone land to allow for housing construction in a sensitive area in their neighborhood — and got a key council member to reverse his position after inviting him to the neighborhood for a meeting Thursday evening.

Anderson had introduced a bill that would rezone land at the end of Puohala street — from Preservation — to Residential — allowing for construction of homes along Kaneohe stream.

Area resident, attorney and community organizer Kaui Pratt-Aquino, explains why the neighborhood is opposed.

“Flooding, traffic, and most importantly, setting a dangerous precedent of developers in Hawaii identifying preservation land, cheap preservation land, to flip to make a profit, so our community rose, as you could see we had a good turnout, to reject this.”

Anderson listened — and made a vow.

“‘The community’s asked me to vote no, I’m prepared to do that. That’s it.”

The parcel of land is included in the Koolaupoko Sustainable Communities Plan. Anderson says it’s also within the State Urban Growth Boundary.

However, Anderson says, “I’ve heard the community here ask me to vote no to vote in opposition, when the rezone comes before the Council and because the community has asked me to do that, I will do that.”

The developer has asked for an extension for his rezoning proposal to be considered — and that will be taken up by a council committee next week… before the full city council takes its vote.

Anderson says, “The buck absolutely stops with the City Council and if the rezone were approved, then the Mayor would have to sign off on it.”

The developer’s representative issued an 8-page document addressing some opponents’ concerns, while moving ahead with development plans.

Developer Horseshoe Land Company LLC initially proposed a cemetery for the land, then altered its proposal to create homes based on a survey of the community.

The document claims that most developed areas of Kaneohe and Kailua are in a flood zone — and that the community’s concerns about traffic are un-founded.

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