Governor's plan for 2K affordable units scaled back after community complaints

Updated: Aug. 29, 2017 at 8:07 PM HST
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(image: HPHA)
(image: HPHA)
(image: HPHA)
(image: HPHA)
(image: HPHA)
(image: HPHA)
(image: HPHA)
(image: HPHA)

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A project in the governor's push to build thousands of affordable homes has been scaled back dramatically because of push back from Kalihi residents.

"The result that we have today, that we're leaning towards, it's completely different than how we started a year ago," said Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi.

Ouansafi said the original redevelopment plan for the HPHA property on North School and Lanakila Avenue included a 400-foot, 28-story tower. That didn't sit well with neighbors.

"We already have sewer problems, we haven't been promised that they'll be fixed. We have traffic problems here, we have school problems here," Gayle Nakama said.

The state drastically cut back their plans.

"We wanted about 2,000 units. Now we know for sure that we are not going to go more than 1,000, most likely 800 to 1,000. Where we wanted family buildings, now we know the community wants to see elderly buildings, so we're leaning toward having 80 to 100-percent elderly buildings," Ouansafi said.

An Environmental Impact Statement preparation notice is available online and open for public comment. Ouansafi the EIS will provide sewer, traffic, and air impact studies.

"If the sewer capacity will only allow us to build 400 to 500, then that's all we will be able to build," said Ouansafi.

Still, Nakama wishes the affordable housing project can be built somewhere else.

"We have more housing in our surrounding areas than any other point on the island. So we feel that we have already taken the brunt of the low income and the affordable housing. There shouldn't be any more in this area," said Nakama.

A community meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 18th at the School Street Administrative Office conference room.

Ouansafi said they are hoping to break ground in 2019.

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