Few testify in weekend hearing on Kakaako development projects

Few testify in weekend hearing on Kakaako development projects

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction cranes are already becoming part of the landscape in Kakaako, where members of the public were given yet another chance to sound off on more proposed development for the area.

The Saturday morning hearing at the Hawaii Community Development Authority offices drew a smaller crowd compared to previous gatherings. But the HCDA said it wants as much input as possible, so it scheduled hearings outside of the usual business hours to gather more testimony to consider before deciding whether to approve three development projects.

The few who testified favored the proposed development, and countered some earlier testimony from residents of One Waterfront Plaza, who were concerned about their view being blocked. "I thought about my view and about my unit and my value," said resident and real estate broker Vernon Chock. "And after I kinda calmed down, I kind of realized that it would have a minimal impact on the view."

"Living in Hawaii, it's just so great because we have this beautiful environment, beautiful ocean view," said Sam Manuel. "but I don't think that's something that can always be guaranteed."

The HCDA was specifically seeking testimony on three projects, including The Collection, Alexander & Baldwin's proposed 43-story tower at the old Comp USA location at Ala Moana Boulevard and South Street.

"Here's A&B trying to provide housing, much needed housing, for al the people of Kakaako, and I felt that we should be given the opportunity to be in this neighborhood as well," said Manuel.

Another development at 803 Waimanu would like so-called workforce housing. "I feel it's an opportunity for there to be affordable housing available for people in my situation and other working class," said Nicole Floyd, who currently lives in Kaimuki and would like to live in Kakaako.

Even with the increased number of opportunities for testimony, one area resident who has attended several of the HCDA meetings feels it's still just for show. "It sounds like it's a done deal, that this big tower at Pohukaina is going to be built, 650 feet, and there's nothing anyone can do about it," said Bob Lamb.

There will be yet another chance for testimony Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the HCDA office on Cooke Street.

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