HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than two dozen students from Castle High School decided to sign wave Friday in a protest against a proposed development that would sit just down the road from their school at the end of Puohala Street.
“This development that they have planned for Puohala, on conservation land, we find very worrying,” said Bronson Azama, a junior at Castle High School.
The landowner, Horseshoe Land Company, is asking the city to re-zone roughly three of its five-acre property, from preservation to residential, to build 8 new homes.
The Kaneohe neighborhood board voted to oppose the re-zoning because of flooding and drainage concerns.
“I think it’s not a good idea. I think it’s not good for our community," said Deborah Collins, neighborhood board member. "I think it would be dangerous for our community.”
Critics say the re-zoning of the land would be the first step down a slippery slope.
“This particular measure creates a dangerous precedent for development across Hawaii, because technically, a developer could identify cheap preservation land, fight the community, force a rezone, and make millions off that,” said Kaui Aquino-Pratt, an attorney and Kaneohe resident.
We reached out to the landowner for comment on this story, but did not hear back.
The Honolulu City Council will now have to decide the issue after the Planning Commission gave the project a green light and the Department of Planning recommended partial approval.
Councilman Ron Menor, who leads the zoning committee, says he’s reviewing the request.
Council Chair Ikaika Anderson, who represents this district, told Hawaii News Now he understands the community opposition but wanted to read through the proposal before making a comment.