The future of the Haiku Stairs is beginning to take shape. Following a Board of Water Supply presentation on the draft Environmental Impact Study that was put out in June at Thursday’s Kaneohe Neighborhood Board meeting, there is now a time frame for resolution.
“We’re trying to target completion of the EIS at the end of the year maybe early next year.” said Board of Water Supply Manager & Chief Engineer Ernest Lau.
“Then, allowing for a period if there are challenges to the EIS for that to play out, if we are able to achieve a final EIS that is free of challenges, the Board can make a decision. So possibly early part of next year.”
The draft EIS presented a trio of options: tear the stairs down, keep them as is, or partner with another agency or private entity to sell the land for a managed access plan.
Lau thinks that Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is interested in taking over the land to manage access.
“The mayor has expressed strong interest in trying to keep the stairs and opening it under a possible managed access. I think he’s already come out publicly to say that he would like the property with the stairs transferred to the department of parks and recreation.”
The Kaneohe Board also supports managed access.
“We decided that a managed access plan would be appropriate as long as that plan could take into account protecting the neighborhood from trespassers.” said Board Chair Mo Radke.
Some Kaneohe residents are skeptical that a managed access plan could alleviate concerns of traffic, parking, noise, and other nuisances.
“I read some of their managed access plans, and I see none that would, it would affect somebody somehow.” said Kaneohe resident Michael Lyman.
“That whole subdivision there was not developed for the amount of traffic that they have now, so no I would be totally against any type of limited access.” he added.
The BWS is still accepting comments on the EIS until Aug. 7.