Dozens testify on bills relating to HCDA

The buildings keep coming from Ala Moana to downtown. Kakaako is the next likely spot for development, but that’s a sensitive issue.

“I guess our main concern is, with all towers coming up, it would greatly increase our traffic, which is already heavy now.” Development opponent Ron Iwami said.

At the heart of the matter – the Hawaii Community Development Authority. The people you see in the audience wearing red t-shirts believe the HCDA has over stepped its bounds.

A legislative committee held a hearing to talk about Kakaako, and seven bills that would do everything from refining the HCDA – to disbanding it altogether.

“We can all agree to disagree. And then if we agree on certain issues, then we can fix it and the ones that we cannot agree upon, we can put it aside and come back when we’re at a better place in time.” Rep. Faye Hanohano said.

In all, the bills relating to the HCDA are under consideration by the committee. There are a number of stakeholders in any decision – including land owners Kamehameha schools and the Howard Hughes corporation. Not to mention those who live in and use the Kakaako coast line. The committee’s task is a tough one.

“I’m going to review the statutes, I’ve already read the statutes, but I want to review them again based on the testimony I received.” Rep. Cindy Evans said.

For its part, the HCDA says it is doing its best to reach the best decision for the community –

“Development in Kakaako doesn’t occur because HCDA says that it should occur. It occurs because of market reasons and it fits the interest of the landowners who want to do something in conjunction with rule.” HCDA Executive Director Anthony Ching said.

And as Shakespeare said – therein lies the rub. Where do the landowners needs fit the needs of the community?

“I think it’s time for us to revisit the law and see if we can do a better job in terms of our guidance that we give to this entity.” said Evans.

A quick look at newspaper headlines reveals that the need for more housing is real. The question becomes – where is that housing built?

“The demand for 5700 new housing units will not go away. So even though we will not provide all that demand, we are a part of the solution.” said Ching.

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