KAHUKU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he wants to preserve the rural lifestyle on the North Shore and wants to build more affordable housing.
And that's why he's backing a community plan to bring more development there.
"I just don't want to freeze it and say you guys go somewhere else so guys with more money can move in," Caldwell said.
The mayor's town hall meeting at Kahuku High School on Tuesday was well attended by groups both in favor and opposed to the Koolau Loa Sustainability plan.
That plan sets the road map for BYU Hawaii add new buildings to its Laie campus, Turtle Bay Resort to expand its resort and Hawaii Reserves Inc. to building nearly 900 new homes at Malaekahana.
"In the state of Hawaii where there are three or four generations living together in one house, this place is the place, this is ground zero," Caldwell said.
But community advocates say that's too much development.
"We feel we are inching toward the urbanization of rural Oahu and the major is complicit toward that," said Tim Vandeveer, co-chair of the Defend Oahu Coalition.
Former state lawmaker Bob Nakata said he supported the city's transit-oriented development plan because it promised to confine large-scale construction to urban areas. But now he's changing his mind.
"This Malaekahana development will make Laie and Kahuku one big urban area," said Nakata.
"I believe there is going to be more mainland buyers."