HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A capacity crowd filled the Waialua Community Association building in Haleiwa to discuss developer Andy Anderson's proposal to build a 80-room hotel on unused park land that the city wants to sell.
Unlike the previous meeting on the issue, the gathering was calmer, but still spirited, with many residents holding signs protesting the hotel.
"Now the community is aware of it, so right now everybody's a little bit more on the mellow side, so they can function a little bit more clearly," said Haleiwa resident Earl Dahlin.
"I respect your right to disagree," Anderson told the crowd. "I respect these signs, 'Do not sell our public lands.' But selling that piece of public land will put 110 people to work. It will pay thousands and thousands of dollars in salaries for people in Haleiwa."
The vast majority of the audience was against Anderson's proposal, claiming it would bring unwanted traffic and take away valuable park land.
But some supporters noted the economic impact, including North Shore farmer Travis Overley, who said while he doesn't support all development, the hotel could use local produce. "It's not obnoxious," he said about the hotel proposal, "it's not offensive. It's a boutique hotel, specializing in real, local, eclectic cuisine, something that's beneficial."
Most in the audience supported Kamehameha Schools' proposal to acquire the same property to build a park and storage space for canoes. "The community supports Kam School one hundred percent," Dahlin said. "Trying to educate the community about what the Hawaiian people is for. And it's all about a learning process, and it's all good. It's all good."
Anderson appeared hopeful, but realistic, about the hotel, which would resemble the old Haleiwa Hotel from the early 1900's. "That's what we want to build," he said, pointing at a rendering of the hotel. "And if we can't build that, that way, on the lawn, set back, with all the grandeur of the old hotel, with all of the history, then we won't do it."
The North Shore Neighborhood Board, which hosted the meeting, did not make a decision on the matter. City Councilman Ernie Martin, who attended the meeting, said the decision would be made by Mayor Peter Carlisle. Meanwhile, most in attendance agreed that the meeting was a good chance to listen.