Neighbors oppose planned affordable housing project in Maili, citing infrastructure concerns

As construction nears, residents stand up against planned Maili affordable housing development

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Neighbors of a proposed affordable housing project in Maili gathered Thursday to voice their concerns about possible infrastructure and traffic associated with the development, saying their rural road can’t handle a project that will house about 200 people.

"It's not like we don't have open hearts or we don't want affordable housing. It needs to be responsible development," said neighbor Michele Kuahine.

Non-profit Hawaiian Community Development Board has planned six buildings with 52 units for Hale Makana O Maili.

Executive Director Kali Watson says he’s working to address the neighbors’ safety and traffic concerns and that the $23 million affordable project helps address Hawaii’s homeless crisis, especially on the Leeward Coast.

"I'm hopeful that we are successful in building it because it provides a tremendous need there. We all know the homeless situation especially in that area," said Watson.

Right now, there are orange tags around the project. The neighbors say they first found out about the development in February when surveyors showed up.

“It was tantamount to someone finding out that there’s a monster home coming next to you. This is a monster complex. This is a rural area,” said resident Kathy Kamada.

The project went through roughly four years of government approvals and community meetings.

“It’s very clear to me that perhaps a part in the process, we need to improve on and require developers to do to ensure that we don’t have situations like this,” said Kymberly Marcos Pine, the City Councilmember who represents the area.

The developers hope to break ground at the end of this year and complete the project by 2020.

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