President's Message Fall 2014
By Alexandra Avery
Trees, Trees, Trees! This has been the autumn of discontent for so many trees around the state.
Earlier in the season, Hurricane Iselle blew down many Albizias in Puna. O'ahu's Lyon Arboritum and the UH Manoa campus have been diligently culling vastly overgrown Albizias. The State Highways Division has cut out all tree planting from their new roadway management policy, and cut off water sources to many roadway trees of significant stature. The Kaka'ako developers seem to forsake the public health value of large canopy trees in their ambitious building designs.
With so much to protect in the constant endeavor to capitalize on our natural beauty, we have been in a constant struggle to maintain and expand the far-reaching health benefits and aesthetics that our large canopy trees provide.
Enter Mayor Caldwell. O'ahu's Mayor gets a gold star in our Exceptional Tree Initiative for coming to the aid of an old Monkeypod tree on O'ahu Avenue in his neighborhood of Manoa. We thank the Mayor for reviewing this case and deciding in favor of these majestic trees.
You are all invited to our annual Nov. 15 Full Circle Gathering, this year at the North shore of O'ahu. Read more about it in this Green Leaf. I am proud of our TOC Board and all of our Branches for the community improvements that have been achieved with volunteer help.
All of our planting initiatives and projects are funded by you, our volunteers and members. Please scroll through our Greenleaf blog to learn more about our work, and consider how you can help us achieve a more healthy canopy across the state. Don't want to work a shovel; you can just donate! Click here to find out more.
OP wants to hear from YOU!
If you care about conservation lands; if you want agricultural lands protected for food production; if you want the right building in the right place, as much as the right tree in the right place... well, then the Office of Planning wants to hear from YOU!
The Office of Planning is a state agency charged with providing statewide comprehensive planning. Hawai‘i is recognized as a pioneer in land use and state planning. In 1961, Hawai‘i enacted the first land use law in the U.S., and in 1979 the first state plan law. Learn more about our Office of Planning here.
Today, they are conducting a periodic review of a foundational land use law, Hawaii Revised Statute Chapter 205. As part of this review, they are seeking public input from "stakeholders." If you want to see our limited land resources used wisely, then consider yourself a "stakeholder" and invited to attend these listening sessions.
Oahu: Nov. 20th at 6 - 8 PM Washington Intermediate School
Maui: Nov. 25th at 6 - 8 PM Maui Planning Commission Conference Room in Wailuku
Hawaii: Dec. 2nd at 5:30 - 7:30 PM Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo
Dec. 3rd at 6 - 8 PM Natural Energy Lab Hawaii Conference Room in Kona
Kaua'i: Dec. 10th at 6 - 8 PM Kaua'i Planning Commission Conference Room in Lihue
- We have no idea what they plan to do with our input
- We have no control over what they do with our input
- They may plan to do nothing with our input
- They may proposing sweeping changes to our land use laws (though not this Legislative Session)
Lawyers get a lesson in new Eco Court
Hawai‘i’s new Environmental Court was a featured topic at the State Bar Association’s annual convention of attorneys last month. Justice Michael Wilson of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and Judge Merideth Wright of the Vermont Environmental Court helped lawyers better understand how this new court will work to improve enforcement of environmental laws.
The Outdoor Circle, along with Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful and many others, worked hard to get Act 218, SLH 2014 passed into law last session. Establishing an Environmental Court in Hawai‘i was one of TOC’s main priorities identified by members at the 2013 Full Circle Meeting.
To learn more about the Environment Court in Hawai‘i, click here to read our previous posts on the topic.
Parklets Explained in Kokua Line
Long time TOC supporter, Joel Kurokawa (TOC President) is an advocate for The Complete Streets program. Joel and his staff at Ki Concepts invited TOC to participate in the parklet event in Kaimuki on September 19, 2014. Here is an article from the Kokua Line that answered questions on parklet information. Click here to be directed to the Honolulu Clean Cities website.
Mature monkey pods in Manoa saved
Thanks to the quick work of members in the Manoa Outdoor Circle, two giant monkey pod trees on Oahu Avenue will not be removed. Instead the sidewalk will be repaired and the planting space expanded so that the trees can grow strong and the cars can travel safely.
A neighbor happened to strike up a conversation with city workers investigating the trees and learned that they were being considered for removal because the sidewalk was lifting and the curb was uneven.
"Who was here first? The tree or the sidewalk?" she asked herself and then set about trying to find an alternative to cutting down these majestic old trees. She called Jerry Lam and the members of the Manoa branch. Thanks to their teamwork and advocacy (they collected 100 petition signers in just a few hours!), the trees remain in place and the sidewalk and curb have been reworked.
Hi everyone, my name is Myles Ritchie and I am the program intern at TOC.
On Wednesday, October 8th I attended the first of two HART community meetings scheduled in order to update the public on the design plans of the rail stations, with the goal of being as transparent as possible towards the public.
1)Concept designs of the rail stations beginning at Ala Moana to Pearl Highlands.
2)The opportunity for various community members to give their input on the project and have their questions answered.
3) Workshops offered after the presentation in order to give those in attendance a much more detailed showing of the station of their preference.
During the Q&A period, concerns raised by the audience weren't focused on the rail stations, but rather the budget concerns with the overall project. Although these questions regarding the budget deflected in favor of returning to the meeting's topics of station design, the audience seemed determined to receive answers to the questions.
Although traffic and other interesting points were highlighted at the meeting, there was no mention of tree placement and other vegetation along the rail's guideway and support columns. Instead, HART focused on various art installations around the stations. The Outdoor Circle acknowledges the value of art and art education, but will continue to encourage a more balanced approach to include native vegetation.
Future points discussion:
1) How HART will keep the rail stations “clean, green and beautiful” as the project moves forward.
2) How HART will maintain useful community spaces along and around the guideway.
3) How reshaping the rail budget will impact the aesthetic design of the project.
If you are interested in getting involved in the HART, please feel free to email me.
October 9th, 2014
Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.