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urbanguy

Honolulu development plan to increase density!

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~This is a commentary about Honolulu's proposed primary urban center development plan that is before the City Council~

Of the city's eight O'ahu planning districts, Honolulu and 'Ewa have the only development plans while the other districts have sustainable community plans. The 'Ewa development plan was adopted by city ordinance in 1997.

Honolulu's primary urban center development plan is now before the City Council. According to this plan's policies and guidelines, the Honolulu urban core from Kalihi to Kaimuki is slated for filling in and redevelopment to the fullest extent possible by raising density to a maximum of 140 residential units per acre with reduced or eliminated parking.

Individual lots are proposed to be consolidated for city block-sized mixed-use developments, rezoned into high-density residential units over commercial spaces and built to the street with no building setbacks along mass-transit corridors. However, unlike the 'Ewa development plan, such high-density transit corridors are undefined in the incomplete map appendix of the proposed plan.

Further, small hotels are proposed for Kapahulu, Kaimuki and the King-Beretania corridor, with larger hotels along the Ala Moana-downtown corridor.

Given this extreme makeover of Honolulu as described in this plan, several neighborhood boards have conveyed to the city the desire of their communities to have a say in any development or redevelopment that takes place in their neighborhoods.

In communications with the Department of Planning and Permitting and the City Council, and by solid votes supporting community planning, six neighborhood boards in the Honolulu urban center's coastal plain have asked the city to ensure that community plans are first completed for their communities. A group of neighborhood board representatives has also requested that the development plan ensure that community plans will be completed and accepted by the City Council before any zoning changes occur.

The Honolulu urban core's seven areas given to community-based planning, with each area comprised of compatible uses and similar lifestyle and business interests, include Makiki-McCully-Mo'ili'ili; Kapahulu-Kaimuki, Waikiki; Ala Moana-Kaka'ako; downtown; Kalihi-Kalihi Valley; and Salt Lake-'Aiea.

In a letter to the City Council, the Department of Planning and Permitting has confirmed that it can assist in the production of up to eight community master plans at a time.

To meet intended needs and desires for their future, all communities should be given the options of evaluating the benefits of their present zoning as well as considering any zoning changes for their preferred plan. Once completed, these community master plans should be accepted by City Council resolution, as was the precedent Waipahu community plan in 1996.

As neighborhood board officers, committee chairs and community members who have been active participants on this issue, we have long advocated community-based planning as the means to ensure a desirable future for our communities.

Comprehensive community plans will embrace our diverse cultural characteristics, define community values and enhanced quality of life, revitalize existing community business districts, reduce crime and improve public safety, and protect and preserve our parks, open space and recreational resources.

*What do you think? As soon as i find out more about this and if it gets approved i'll post the info! :o

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