HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Protesters were out in force Saturday by Haleiwa Beach Park, waving signs, selling t-shirts and gathering petition signatures against a plan to sell just over three acres of city land across Kamehameha Highway for commercial development.
"They bought the property with the idea of, in this particular case, of expanding the park, the Haleiwa Beach Park, into this Haleiwa Regional Beach Park," said Peter Cole, who chairs the Save Haleiwa Beach Park Coalition. The regional park, Cole said, would include both the makai side and the mauka side of the highway.
But well-known island developer Andy Anderson wants to purchase the land to build an 80-unit hotel, which would be a replica of the original Haleiwa Hotel from the late 1800's.
"The hotel will employ some 110 people," Anderson said. "And it will take non-productive land that doesn't pay a dime in real property tax, and generate property taxes for the government."
The city's parks and recreation department owns the property. However, it is not currently used as a park. And Anderson contends the city has no plans to ever use it as a park.
"Not only does the county own this land, they are identified as remnant parcels," Anderson said.
"They've been sitting fallow for 42 years," he added.
Opponents counter that the possible sale would set a bad precedent for other lands owned by the parks and recreation department.
"For the city to entertain the fact that selling this park for commercial use, without informing the public prior to this whole thing, is ludicrous," said opponent Tony "Squiddy" Sanchez.
Anderson already owns the land under the Jameson's By The Sea Restaurant, and said he only needs one adjacent parcel to build the hotel. If he has to buy the remaining remnant parcels, he'll build a park.
"Why not be productive?" Anderson said, "Why not turn it to income producing? Why not create jobs, and give them a park in the trade?"
Coalition members said they'll be the ones to turn it into a park, even if they have to do it themselves.
"We'll clean it up. We'll make it nice, at no expense to the city at all, whatsoever," Sanchez said. "If we have to do it, we'll do it."
Anderson said his plan is still in the concept stage, and he's still putting together the final costs and funding. He is scheduled to present the concept to the North Shore Neighborhood Board at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Alii Beach Park Haleiwa Surf Center.