City agrees to cease controversial Waimanalo development project
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A three-year battle to redevelop Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is now on hold indefinitely.
The Blangiardi administration confirmed Wednesday a settlement with the Friends of Sherwood Forest and closed its Special Management Area Permit.
Under the new agreement, the city must apply for a new permit if they want to restart any redevelopment projects.
Friends of Sherwood Forest is celebrating their victory.
The city has agreed to end their efforts to develop an athletic field, install an irrigation system and build a playground at Sherwood forest in Waimanalo.
In May 2019, the plan for a new athletic field was met with protests at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park.
The Caldwell administration faced backlash three years ago when crews attempted to clear land in the area known as Hunananiho. Protestors said the project threatened native species and burial sites. More than two dozen people were arrested.
In 2020, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he’d scale back plans following multiple protests, but Sherwood’s advocates said the project was largely unchanged and posed a threat to native species and buried iwi and remains.
“It’s a tremendous victory just for the land,” said Friends of Sherwood Forest Attorney Lanson Kupau. “And it’s a tremendous victory for our ancestors. That who are buried there will no longer be disturbed. And it’s also a victory for the community of Waimanalo that use the park as well as future generations.”
Kupau also commended Mayor Rick Blangiardi for “staying true to his word” citing that the mayor signed a pledge during his campaign to not develop the forest, and upon taking office Blangiardi settled the case “fairly, quickly and decisively.”
The city has not provided a timeline of when they will begin removing construction equipment but Sherwoods advocates said the city has agreed to give 30 days notice of removal.
They will also have an archeologist oversee the withdrawal process in case any buried remains are uncovered.
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