Board Unanimously Votes 'No' to Cabins Again

Gary Weller
Gary Weller
Elizabeth Rielly
Elizabeth Rielly
Bill McCorriston
Bill McCorriston

HAWAII KAI (KHNL) -- "Keep construction out of Ka Iwi."  That's what angry residents in East Honolulu are demanding as they face-off over a controversial development project.

Tuesday night at the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board meeting held at Hahaione Elementary School, the board voted unanimously against the project.

This battle in East Honolulu all stems from a plan to build cabins across from the Ka Iwi coast.

Under the proposal, 181cabins would be spread out on two properties - Mauuwai and Queens Rise.

Developer QRM is willing to slice the number of cabins in half, give up Queens Rise to the city or to a non-profit organization for the sake of preserving the land, under the condition that Hawaii Kai's community says ok to cabins on Mauuwai.

"I feel like we're constantly as a neighborhood, we're always being boxed in by poorly written zoning laws and developers with more money than we can fight against," said Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Member Gary Weller.

Technically, a developer can build cabins on the land which is zoned as preservation type 2 land. But critics say these aren't cabins, they're more like vacation homes which they say would set a dangerous precedent on Oahu.

"Because it would allow and open up pandora's box for Mr. McCorriston's type of a cabin to be built with a recreation type facility on preservation type 2 land throughout Oahu," said Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Member Elizabeth Rielly.

"The fact is these are cabins as defined in the land use ordinance. They're 800 square feet, which is what the land use defines as cabins. We're going to be in a wilderness area largely untouched,"said Bill McCorriston, a lawyer representing QRM.

Even though Hawaii Kai's neighborhood board rejected the plan, the city's Planning and Permitting Department still has the power to approve the project.

If the city does not, and QRM feels the decision violates a landowner's legal rights, McCorriston says they plan to take the matter to court.

Several lawmakers plan to introduce bills to preserve Ka Iwi.

Under one bill, the state would buy the land.

Another bill would change the zoning so that a developer can't build in the area.