Farmers Worry Homes Will Phase out Waimanalo's Agricultural Land

Tom Staton
Tom Staton

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - There are homes sprouting on rural land in Waimanalo. Farmers say they're worried all the development will soon swallow up and wipe out agricultural areas in the valley.

"We feel we are in the dark and we don't want to wake up and turn the light and find that we're surrounded by residential area and housing," says Tom Staton, a member of the Waimanalo Agricultural Association.

One of several lots that has sparked concern among farmers is along Kakaina Street where 50 homes are planned for the area. Completion date: August 2008.

On Kumuhau Street - another 50 homes set for April 2009, plus 200 more on what's presently the Wong Farm.

Farmers say state leaders approved the projects without their consent.

"It's frustrating that there isn't a lot of communication between the Department of Land and the farming community," says Oceanside Nursery Farmer Glenn Griffin.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources controlled all three farmlands, then transferred ownership to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands.

"Hawaiians definitely deserve a place to live and they should be put on these homelands and that's a wonderful idea but we think the state should be careful about considering what land use for that and shouldn't they consider an alternative first?," asks Staton.

With yet another chunk of land Hawaiian Homelands marked as a "potential acquisition area", farmers say Waimanalo's rural valley may never be the same.

Hawaiian Homes says the parcels border residential areas, so these plans are just a natural extension.