East Honolulu community reaffirms opposition to new development

Neighborhood board reaffirms vote against controversial East Honolulu development
Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now
Andre Bisquera (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Andre Bisquera (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now
Michael Terry (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Michael Terry (Image: Hawaii News Now)

AINA HAINA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A proposed development below a ridge in East Honolulu has failed to gain the support of a local neighborhood board, even after project managers answered questions for nearly two hours from concerned residents.

It was the second time landowner LevRed LLC had gone before the Kuliouou-Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board, which voted in February against supportingvthe proposed 19-unit Hokulei Cluster development along Paiko Ridge in Kuliouou Valley.

An overflow crowd at the Aina Haina Library peppered the landowner's representatives for nearly two hours Thursday night.

"As a resident here, we're really not against development. What we support is well thought-out, well planned development that considers the protection of the residents here," said Kuliouou resident Andre Bisquera.

Neighborhood board members had their concerns as well, saying the area is too steep for development.

"This proposed row of home would be directly above a row of homes that look like they already have a steep retaining wall behind them," said board member Jessica Stamm.

"They'd have to cut into the hillside pretty deep. And then how do you protect the residents below?" said Bisquera, before the meeting.

"The soil is unstable. There's been landslides in that area," said board member Ried Fisher.

A designer says the preliminary plans call for protections that will enhance the safety of the area.

"We will be providing a rockfall protection fence all along the mauka boundary of our property," said Michael Terry of the firm Belt Collins. "That will not only safeguard our project but will also safeguard the properties that are makai of our project in the valley."

Landowner LevRed actually owns the entire side of the ridge to the top. Its representative, Michael Jackson, told the board it will only build on four acres of the land to recoup some of its monetary losses.

"Still working towards the final goal, the ultimate goal, of putting the entirety of the rest of the land, 98 percent, into a conservation trust," said Jackson.

After the nearly two hours of questions and testimony, board members voted against supporting the development. Meanwhile, residents and property association board members plan their own meetings with the landowner next month.

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