Community concerns prompt landowner to scale back North Shore food truck hub

Updated: Sep. 20, 2017 at 8:30 PM HST
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PUPUKEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A controversial North Shore development has made changes after community complaints, but critics remain skeptical.

Residents will receive an update on long-term plans for the property near Shark's Cove during a community meeting on Wednesday.

After receiving a minor Special Management Area permit from the city in August, HanaPohaku, LLC reduced the number of food trucks from eight to five, the maximum allowed. According to the company, other changes made will address most of the concerns raised by residents, such as noise, environmental impacts and traffic.

"It's a very much pulled back, softened approach to the site. We're much more respectful of the scale of the project. It's only about 25% of what the city would allow under the existing zoning," explained Jeff Overton, the planner at G70 working with HanaPohaku.

Critics said they're pleased with the progress, but are still worried.

"The community's eyes are watching this project really, really closely because of the history of mistrust, but going forward we absolutely hope that they engage the community," said Denise Antolini, president of Malama Pupukea-Waimea.

The city assessed fines for three violations. The fine for a wooden deck built without a permit totaled $38,250, but HanapPohaku only paid $3,825.

"Basically, the city accepted about 10% of the assessed value. We think that is way too low, sending the wrong signal to the development community about what city enforcement really means," said Antolini.

According to the Department of Planning and Permitting, the main goal of its civil fine system is to obtain compliance. Fines may be lowered to close long-standing violations and reduce the backlog of cases.

Two other fines haven't been resolved. For the violation of grading and grubing without a permit, daily fines have accrued to $62,400. The initial fine of $100 also hasn't been paid. For construction without an SMA permit, daily fines have accrued to $94,500. The initial fine of $2,000 also hasn't been paid.

HanaPohaku officials said they're waiting for the city to issue the company an after-the-fact grading permit to resolve the grading violation.

"We're exactly following the city process to close this all up and it takes time. If they could write a check tomorrow to settle all of this they would," said Overton.

A draft environmental impact statement will be published this fall as HanaPohaku pursues a major SMA permit for a long-term commercial development at the site.

Overton is scheduled to provide an update on the major SMA  permit process during the Sunset Beach Community Association meeting on September 20 at 7 p.m. the Sunset Beach Recreation Center.

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