Sea level rise prompts city to plan future oceanfront developments more inland
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the sea level expected to rise about a foot over the next 30 years, the city wants to require future oceanfront developments to be built further in land.
The plan could impact the construction of hundreds of homes planned along Oahu’s coastline.
“This is a global issue and in Kaaawa, Hauula, Laie — all up and down the Windward side,” said Chip Fletcher of the Climate Resilience Collaborative. “We are seeing the effects of coastal erosion taking away land, threatening the single road that allows access into and out of these communities.”
Currently, new oceanfront developments on Oahu have to be built 40 feet from the shoreline.
Bill 41 will increase that setback to 60 feet in urban areas and as much as 130 feet in rural areas.
The proposal doesn’t apply to homes that have already been built but it does apply to new commercial developments along Oahu’s crowded beaches.
“I just worry about the number one engine of the county of Oahu and the state of Hawaii, which is Waikiki,” said City Councilmember Calvin Say.
“When it rains it floods in all of Kalakaua.”
The city said its own projects are already being planned according to the new setback rules.
”You will see permits that come your way and have already come your way — for example, environmental services and their sewer plant — where the structures will need to be elevated in response to sea level rise,” said Katia Balassiano, chief planner for the City Department of Planning and Permitting.
The Council Zoning Committee has already approved Bill 41 and it goes to the full Council on Wednesday for its next hearing.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.