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DHHL chair says Kapolei casino would be built on land not zoned for homes

Updated: Jan. 11, 2021 at 4:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Defending gambling at the state capitol Monday, the chairman of the Hawaiian Home Lands program was peppered with questions from lawmakers.

DHHL caused a rift in the Native Hawaiian community for their recent proposal to build a casino in Kapolei.

Chair William Aila has been heavily criticized by Home Lands beneficiaries who complain that the land should be used for housing.

But Aila claims the proposed site located along Roosevelt road could not be used for houses because of zoning.

“We won’t be giving away anything. These are lands that are already zoned commercial. The only difference is, rather than the usual commercial uses of these properties, gaming would be different,” Aila told state lawmakers.

Aila told the house finance committee that no other commercial activity could generate more money than his plans for the casino and hotel. He says the money would then be used to buy more land on Oahu for homes.

Other lawmakers and community members are still highly skeptical of the plan. He needs the approval of the legislature and governor before development of the casino can proceed.

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