Debate over development at Kam Drive-In

Lele Pono
Lele Pono
Blake Oshiro
Blake Oshiro

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - An ambitious plan for the old Kam Drive-In is running into roadblocks of community disapproval.

The backlash comes from Aiea residents who don't want more traffic added to an already busy area.

Robertson Properties Group wants to build 1,800 units in three high-rise condos and 180,000 square feet of retail space.

Democratic state Representative Blake Oshiro said nine of ten calls to his office are negative.

"The real concerns are about the increased density, blocking view planes, and really just changing the character of the area," he said..

Robertson is a Los Angeles based real estate development arm of Consolidated Theaters. It has owned the 14-acre parcel since 2007.

Much of the opposition to the landowner's idea comes from residents in the Lele Pono condominium just mauka of where Robertson wants to build.

"Lele Pono has been here since 1975 and so we've been somewhat spoiled with the view there. But more importantly, with the swap meet across the street we've experienced traffic tie-ups," said Lele Pono assistant resident manager Faith Loftus.

"We're talking about a lot of cars and that area is already really, really over-packed when it comes to movement through the primary corridor," Oshiro said.

On its web site, Robertson said the property fits in with transit oriented development. The project would sit about a quarter mile from a planned rail station at Pearl Ridge.

Robertson has held several community meetings and more are planned.

Company executives will meet with Oshiro next week.

"I'm hopeful that they're going to continue to listen to the community and maybe modify and scale back," he said.

Oshiro said unless that happens community support will be hard to build.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved