Thanks to our Board Member, Dr. Jeremy Lam, for contributing to this post.
The State agency which oversees the development of Kaka'ako has been criticized as being excessively pro-development. Bill 1866, which seeks to improve oversight and transparency at the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), passed the Hawai'i Legislature this week and was sent to the Governor for his signature.
This bill allows greater public input, promotes greater transparency, provides recourse for communities through a contested-case hearing process, ensures more balance to the appointed board, and emphasizes the importance of maintaining height and distance requirements in building projects.
The Governor has until April 24th to veto the bill, sign it into law, or allow the bill to become law without his signature.
Of the many bills introduced by Representative Scott Saiki to reform the HCDA, this is the only one that survived the legislative process. Representative Saiki told Pacific Business News, "House Bill 1866 will allow us to ‘reboot’ HCDA and allow it to refocus on its mission, provide greater transparency in its operation and decision making, and allow the public to have greater input in its deliberations. At the end of the day, it will help HCDA create a community that is more livable, more productive and that better reflects our island values, lifestyle and sensibilities.”
The Outdoor Circle is particularly concerned with ensuring that public greenspace and mauka-to-makai view planes are enhanced -- not undermined -- by the rush to develop the Kaka'ako area. Mother Waldron Park in the heart of Kaka'ako mauka was given to the city in the 1930's specifically to ensure the public had open green space to enjoy, as the downtown financial district expanded eastward.
Read TOC's position statement on Kaka'ako:
The 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.