Haleiwa parcels could be heading to auction - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Haleiwa parcels could be heading to auction

HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three and a-half acres of oceanfront land on Oahu's North Shore could be heading to the highest bidder, and the bidding would start at $300,000. The property is on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway opposite Haleiwa Beach Park.

Some feel auctioning the Haleiwa Regional Park vacant parcels reclaims wasted space.

"If we can get this parcel sold to something that is really meaningful for the community, I think this would be the best thing," Haleiwa business owner Susan Matsushima said.

But others argue that the land is already utilized.

"It's used by a wide variety of people, families and children that are doing work in the Hawaiian fishpond. It's used by the North Shore canoe club, paddlers who park here to go access the ocean, and just families who need a place to safely park and get into the beach," said Blake McElheny of Save Haleiwa Beach Park Coalition.

The idea to sell started with the city's budget and finance department. It was sent to City Council Chairman Ernie Martin. He agrees it's time to unload the property.

"There are no plans now or in the immediate future to ever develop that parcel," he said.

Martin introduced a resolution that limits bidding to the two abutting property owners, and stipulates the buyer develop a portion of the parcels as a park.

Kamehameha schools wants the site for a cultural park with access to its neighboring fishpond.

The other bidder would be developer D.G. "Andy" Anderson. He wants to build an 80-room boutique hotel there.

But some opponents argue that the bidding process should be closely examined.

"It should be something that undergoes public scrutiny. It should be something that's decided versus other parcels on the island. How did the city arrive at this being a remnant or surplus land?" Keep the North Shore Country director Lucky Cole said.

The city acquired the parcels in 1969, hoping to build a regional park in Haleiwa. That never happened.

"I think what this resolution represents is an opportunity for the community to get a park at no cost to city taxpayers," Martin said.

"I'm a little worried about win-win situations," Cole said. "Often they are win-win for one party and not win-win for the second party."

The city's budget committee takes up the Haleiwa Vacant parcels resolution on Monday.

Here is the statement from Kamehameha Schools:

If the Honolulu City Council approves an auction, Kamehameha Schools will submit a bid for the 3.5 acre parcel in Hale‘iwa across from Hale‘iwa Beach Park.  KS intends to use the site as a cultural park and central access point to Loko Ea fishpond.

KS is also interested in working with a non-profit organization to operate and manage the site as a park.  A small portion of the property could be used by local canoes clubs, as well for fishpond maintenance and access by student and community groups, kupuna, staff and others who need to access the site for educational and cultural purposes.

As part of its nationally-recognized North Shore Plan, Kamehameha has designated Loko Ea as a precious cultural and historic community asset, as well an important educational resource. 

Through KS' Exploration-Series-Ho‘omaka‘ika‘i Program, more than 1800 incoming 6th graders each summer – including 60 students today - visit the pond to learn about invasive fish and vegetation, as well as Hawaiian stories and songs about the area.  

In addition, the pond hosts community work days every third Saturday to restore and maintain the pond. 

Protecting Loko Ea from commercial encroachment is an important priority.  While we believe that Hale‘iwa may be well-served by the addition of a lodging operation somewhere in Hale‘iwa Town, our concern is that a hotel located so close to the pond and adjacent wetlands could cause irreparable damage.

Kalani Fronda, Senior land asset manager, Kamehameha Schools

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