Kamehameha Schools, community discuss North Shore plans

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Visitors to Haleiwa town on Oahu's North Shore are familiar with the North Shore Marketplace. And locals are familiar with the large, empty field, adjacent to the rural shopping area, which hasn't changed much for the last several years. But change is coming, if Kamehameha Schools has its way.

The landowner is envisioning a residential village and a plantation-style town center for the area.

It's just part of long-term plans for the 26,000 acres Kamehameha Schools owns in Haleiwa and the vicinity. The vast majority of that land will remain in conservation and agriculture.

"When you're told you're coming to Hawaii, you have this vision of where you're going to live, and this is that for us," said Aileen Humphreys, a military spouse. She and her husband rent a home in Haleiwa. Humphreys said that's why she came to an open house, hosted by Kamehameha Schools Saturday to find out what those plans could mean for her.

"We are spending quite a big chunk on where we live every month, and I am going to be here by myself for a year, so I just need to know, am I suddenly going to be living in a construction zone? Is this going to become a very different property?," Humphreys said.

The landowner says it is listening to those concerns.

"People not only enjoy visiting this place, but the reason why residents live here is because of that ambience, the rural style, that island style of living," said Kalani Fronda, senior land asset manager for Kamehameha Schools.

According to Fronda, overall planning began some four years ago, with some projects, like the restoration of the Loko Ea Fish Pond, already underway.

A very visible project will be the renovation of the area around the iconic Matsumoto Shave Ice store, with additional parking and left hand turn lanes to alleviate traffic, as well as more space for visitors. "You will see a grass kind of plaza sit-down area to be able to allow those coming for shave ice to be able to enjoy their shave ice, maybe enjoy some entertainment that's occurring over there," Fronda said.

There are several other, longer-term plans. One of them will be the realignment of  Kamehameha Highway at Laniakea, where there's traffic as visitors park and cross the highway to view the turtles at the beach there. Other plans call for new residential developments near existing residences at Kapaeloa and Papailoa. Most of those proposals are still five to ten years down the road.

Kamehameha Schools says before any of the land is changed, the public will have several more chances to weigh in on those plans.

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