A proposal for more housing in Laie, BYU expansion garners mixed reaction

A proposal for more housing in Laie, BYU expansion garners mixed reaction
Updated: Jul. 8, 2018 at 7:38 PM HST
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LAIE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Monday, city council members will hold a special meeting that is expected to draw supporters and opponents of a controversial development plan for part of Oahu's North Shore.

For several years, the City Council has considered revisions to the Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan, which lays out the vision for future development in the rural area.

The committee on planning will consider proposed amendments to Bill 1 from council member Ikaika Anderson. The changes would support 200 new residential units in north Laie and 200 units of workforce housing for the planned expansion of BYU-Hawaii.

"This is an issue of capacity and it's an issue of infrastructure. We just don't have either one out here. We need to use ag lands for the purpose for which they were zoned," Elizabeth Rago-Kaili of Defend Oahu Coalition said.

The original proposal from Hawaii Reserves Inc. (HRI) included the construction of 875 new homes at Malaekahana. The company manages property for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Some residents say affordable housing is desperately needed.

"So if there is a proposal by HRI or other proposals on the table that provide additional inventory -- housing inventory into the north Shore market -- it provides at least some relief," Laie resident William Numanga said.

The amendments to the Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities plan would also expand the community growth boundary to include a roughly 50-acre area in north Laie.

"Just the impact of it all, there's no going back from it. Once you build a certain amount of homes, that style of housing, there's no going back from it," Laie resident Nakia Naeole said.

The bill itself doesn't allow construction to proceed, but it does provide the framework for developers pursuing zoning and other approvals from the City Council and state Land Use Commission.

HRI and BYU-Hawaii did not respond to requests for comment. The special committee meeting starts at 10 a.m. Monday at Honolulu Hale.

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