KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has an ambitious plan to build more than four thousand new homes for Hawaiian homesteaders. It's something that will take them 20 years to do.
One of the DHHL's more recent projects was the Kalawahine Streamside development behind Roosevelt High School. The development is made up mostly of duplexes, more of which may be in the future of homesteading on Oahu.
"Some may want a town home, a condo," said homestead applicant Paul Richards. "I wouldn't mind getting a condo somewhere in urban Honolulu, something like that."
The department has to do that because of the limited amount of land it has. "We have about seven thousand acres of land on Oahu, but we only have about 800 acres that are usable or developable," said DHHL planner Darrell Yagodich.
"Right now, our average single-family homestead is five-thousand square feet," Yagodich added. "We may have to look at duplexes or some other way of increasing the density because we don't have that much land."
The current proposal for Oahu calls for 4,242 residential homesteads, to be built over the next 20 years. The vast majority, 2,505, would be built in Nanakuli. There are also plans for 100 agricultural homesteads. However, the plans would meet only 44 percent of the demand of 9,639 residential applicants, and just three percent of the 3,317 agricultural applicants.
Another challenge for the department is that many of the Hawaiians want to stay in the area where they already live. The DHHL met with beneficiaries in Waipahu Tuesday and at Farrington High School Wednesday. Planners made presentations at a third meeting Thursday in Kailua.
"Many times they've been offered the other side of the island, you know, the Kapoleis, the Nanakulis, the Waianaes, but they're not interested in living there because they're from this side of the island," said DHHL chair Jobie Masagatani at the Kailua meeting.
The department is trying to increase the amount of land it can develop through other means, such as land swaps, or acquiring homes from other developments. "Mililani Town, or Gentry, or Hoapili," said Yagodich. "Maybe we can work out arrangements with private developers to buy out, so to speak, so many lots or so many homes at a discount."
Beneficiaries have until August 19 to submit input to the DHHL. The Hawaiian Homes Commission could approve the long-term plan by September.