Land Use Commission approves Koa Ridge

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Land Use Commission has approved Castle & Cooke's proposed Koa Ridge development in Central Oahu.

The commission called on Castle & Cooke to build an interchange with H-1 by 2017 or within three years of the release of the first home, sooner than the developer proposed.

"Oahu has an acute shortage of housing suitable for primary residents," the commission said in approving the project.

Koa Ridge would be built mauka of Ka Uka Blvd. and Gentry Waipio Industrial Park between H-2 and Kipapa Gulch. The $2.2 billion project calls for 5,000 residential units over 14 years.

The commission decided not to require that the company set aside farm land elsewhere on Oahu to make up for the loss of land now being farmed for pineapple by Aloun Farms.

"The contraction and closure of sugarcane and pineapple have released farmland that can now be used for other crops," the commission said.

Most of the 776 acres of the project are designated "prime" agricultural land, but Castle & Cooke's sister company Dole Food, which owns the land outright, has leased other land to Aloun Farms.

One third of Hawaii fresh fruit and vegetables is supplied by farming on 12,000 acres of Oahu land, thus less than 25,000 acres is needed for 100% self-sufficiency, the commission said, adding that Oahu has 177,000 acres of available farmland.

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