Kailua residents voice concerns over proposed development

Kailua residents voice concerns over proposed development
Published: Mar. 1, 2016 at 2:18 AM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A piece of land in Kailua is causing some controversy.

Kaapuni Drive is lined mostly with single-family homes on large beachfront lots, but plans are underway to build four closely-packed homes on a one-acre plot. Some neighbors say that's a bad idea.

"I think it's fine if they want to build two houses on here, but I think four is way too much," said Steve Trecker, a Kailua resident.

Trecker claims when SL Development bought the land in 2008, original plans included only two homes. But in January 2016, residents were hit with a letter from partnering developer Hawaii Planning, and surprised to learn four homes will be built.

"You could walk the entire beach from end to end and you would never find another lot that has this much development on it, this many houses, this much concrete and asphalt," said Trecker.

Another Kailua resident, Debbie Buccigrossi, is concerned about the possibility of the property turning into illegal vacation rentals.

"I'm not really opposed to it because she owns the property,"  Buccigrossi said. "She has a right to do with it under certain rules. I'm just worried about it and what it's really going to eventually become."

Dennis Silva, Jr. with Hawaii Planning is in charge of the lot's environmental assessment and claims the developer isn't doing anything wrong.

"If your property is 43,000 plus square feet in R10 zoning, you can develop four units," Silva said. "So the development is actually meeting the zoning requirements for unit count per property size and height."

Nonetheless, residents say they'll be vocal in their opposition as the plans move forward.

"If I had a choice, I'd certainly like nothing to be developed here, but at a maximum, I think 2 houses should be put on this lot," said Trecker.

The project is currently in the draft environmental assessment phase.  Once that's complete, Silva says there will be opportunities for public comment. The landowner hopes to begin construction by the end of the year.

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