City agrees to rezone land for Koa Ridge development

Castle & Cooke's Koa Ridge development
Rendering of Castle and Cooke's Koa Ridge development

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One of the largest developments planned for the island cleared a major hurdle late Thursday night.

After meeting for four-and-a-half hours, the Honolulu City Council Zoning and Planning Committee unanimously agreed to rezone the land for Koa Ridge in Central Oahu.

It was a standing room only at Leeward Community College for a development that’s been years in the making, enduring changes and lawsuits.

“Every time we go through the different process to change the land use, we have been successful in getting approval,” Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Executive Vice President of Residential Operations W. Bruce Barrett said.

On Thursday night, the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee listened to testimony about the development that will include 3,500 residential units, a medical facility, and elementary school nestled between Waipio and Mililani.

“We have some of the highest housing prices in the country. There really is a need for housing,” Barrett said.

Some are worried about the increased traffic.

“Housing needs to follow infrastructure, not the other way around,” said Matt LoPresti with the Sierra Club.

“But you know, I’d rather my kids grow up in the area where I bought and live close to me and deal with the traffic,” Mililani resident Justin Kochi said.

Castle & Cooke is planning to spend over $100 million to improve the infrastructure.

“Including widening Ka Uka Boulevard, improving the existing interchange, building a brand new interchange, and making improvements to Kam. Highway,” Barrett said.

The Land Use Commission approved the project twice, but the Sierra Club appealed the decision. Castle & Cooke hopes for a resolution fairly soon.

The Honolulu City Council will hold a public hearing for the project next month.

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