Enchanted Lake residents fear planned development will destroy wetlands

Updated: Jun. 17, 2019 at 5:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Developer Lacus LLC plans to build a residential development in the heart of Enchanted Lake.

The project will be a mix of single-family homes and duplexes, and will include a public park.

"It is the developer's goal to work with the community to evolve this project into something the community can be proud of," Lacus' consultant Bob Mandich said.

Alika Ferreira points to the 4.9-acre site next to his home that developer Lacus LLC wants to...
Alika Ferreira points to the 4.9-acre site next to his home that developer Lacus LLC wants to turn into a residential development. He believes the area is a wetland and should be protected.(Hawaii News Now)

But people who live next to the 4.9-acre site believe a large portion of it should remain untouched.

Alike Ferreira worries building on the property will destroy a natural habitat.

"It's clearly wetlands. There's the vegetation, the birds, the standing water. All of that's easily observed by any person," he said.

Hugo de Vries cares for the Kaelepulu Wetland that’s downhill of the development zone.

"One of the reason this wetland is important for our wetland is that it catches water and silt and debris and everything else before it goes to our wetlands," he said.

Ferreira and de Vries want the Army Corp of Engineers to survey the soil on the property before any building is done.

Mandich said the area doesn’t appear to be a groundwater wetland and has long been zoned as residential. Still, Lacus is consulting with a wetlands expert.

The developer decreased the number of planned homes and townhouses from 55 to 35, and plans to build viewing platforms for the Kaelepulu Wetland and a retention pond to expand and enhance a small wetland area at the property’s edge.

“It will create a more aesthetically pleasing and better environment for the flora, fauna and birds and other wildlife,” said civil engineer Ty Dempsey, who’s working on the project.

Ferreira said there are also concerns about additional traffic that will come into the area. He’s spearheading an information campaign and petition drive against the development.

“We have over 1,300 signatures on our petition asking the developer, asking the city and county to reconsider this, asking the Corp of Engineers to get involved again and reconsider what’s going on here,” he said.

Mandich said the plans are a work-in-progress and Lacus is open to community input

"I think it's going to be an outstanding project in the end," he said.

Lacus hopes to break ground next year.

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