Lawmakers dispute over Hoakalei development plan

Lawmakers dispute over Hoakalei development plan
Published: Sep. 6, 2016 at 1:45 AM HST
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EWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Pine says a recent letter sent out by Haseko Inc. to Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei residents regarding the proposed Hoakalei Master Plan is misleading.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the city's Zoning and Planning Committee will be holding a special meeting to consider whether to allow Haseko to build a lagoon, and redevelop some land in Ewa, but residents and some lawmakers are suspicious.

"They're just trying to sell as many homes as they can, pocket as many homes as they can, make any promises they need to make and get out with as much money without having to deliver," said representative Matt LoPresti.

Lopresti claims Haseko is essentially playing tricks to build a lagoon and get residents to pay for it with escalating association fees.

That lagoon is supposed to replace a marina and resort that it promised to build years ago.

A lawsuit in 2015 claimed Haseko deceived Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei residents when it canceled the project.

"The deal was they were going to build something that would sustain the community," said Liz Gocong, Hoakalei resident. "The jobs would be forever. You would work at the boat launch and at the marina."

"They have done nothing to this area in the development other than build homes since 2009," said another resident, Rick Onderko.

Haseko says if the city council doesn't approve Bill 62, thousands of construction jobs will be lost.

Pine says that's false and the developer is misleading the community. LoPresti agrees. "It's pretty obvious what's going on here," he said.

Lopresti and other residents say Haseko already has approval to finish the project and that the developer is just stalling.

They also blame Councilmember Trevor Ozawa who called for Tuesday's special zoning meeting.

Pine accuses Ozawa of catering to Haseko and rushing the process to avoid public input.

But in a statement provided to Hawaii News Now, Ozawa denied all that. He said it's been over a year since Haseko introduced the measures and that there has been ample opportunity for the public to participate in the process.

Ozawa said he's been offering to work on a compromise for months and believes the community truly wants Bill 62 to move forward.

If the City Council does not approve the measures, Haseko says it will need to re-evaluate the Hoakalei Master Plan and determine how best ot move forward with the current zoning and restrictions in place.

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