Local Connection: Hawaii Housing

By Rick Blangiardi

Hawaii property values held pretty firm through the recent economic slump.

But Hawaii's relatively resilient economy was only part of the reason.

For the most part housing prices are high because of our chronic housing shortage.

From an economic standpoint, it's easy to see why the land use commission voted seven to

Nothing to let Castle & Cooke build five thousand homes on Koa ridge.

And they may also approve eleven thousand homes that Schuler wants to build in Ewa. But these projects will use prime farm land, and that is potentially a real problem.

All farmland is not created equal, and we're undermining our own desire for food sustainability if we grow houses on all the good farmland, leaving a bunch of ravines that just happen to be zoned for agriculture.

But if we wait for the next big development plan to act, the economic pressure to allow more houses will again be enormous.

After all, do we want all our kids to have to move to the mainland to afford a home?

So we need to think fast and seriously about which farmland needs to be off-limits.

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