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Could Oahu use another 12,000 Homes?

This past Friday, the State Land Use Commission voted against DR Horton’s proposal to build 12,000 new homes on the Ewa plain between Waipahu and Kapolei. The project, named Ho’opili would be the largest project since Mililani in central Oahu by Castle and Cooke, which just completed last year after 40 years of development. It’s also said to be similar size in scale to Hawaii Kai in east Oahu. There are two arguments to the development:

  1. Pros: It would be great for the island in that it would tie in to the Mayor’s proposed rail project and spur the economy with job creation & keep or lower housing costs
  2. Cons: The proposed area would displace one of Oahu’s largest farming areas. This is a section that is zoned Agriculture and is vital to Oahu farmers. There has been a lot of buzz lately about “sustainability” building these 12,000 home would kill that idea, create more traffic & cause property values to plunge even more for current owners…

Both are valid arguments. There is obviously a need for more affordable housing, yet what price do we pay? This saga is not over in that DR Horton can petition again once they get their ducks lined up in how they will go about the development in phases. They argued that over the 20 year span of the development, the farmers will “gradually” be displaced. Only time will tell..

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Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

September 1, 2009

Aloha, David. Fascinating. I’d buy the argument about “sustainability” and farm land if we had a government in Hawaii that actually seemed to care at ALL about the local farmers and their industry. The Big Island could probably produce enough food over time to feed the entire Hawaiian Island chain, if it weren’t for things like high fuel surcharges from Matson and Young Brothers, no alternative shipping methods between islands, the strangulation of the farming industry by those who feel everything must be “certified” in Honolulu before being sold to the public and Costco, Safeway, Foodland and KTA buying produce from Mexico. I mean really, Foodland the other day had Mangos from Mexico for $3/POUND! Really? I get them fo’ FREE off the trees in Puako. Insane.

I’m not a huge proponent of development, but in this case it doesn’t seem to be the “farmers” the SLUC is trying to save, but some overinflated sense of “charming history” on Oahu. When “affordable housing” hovers around the $300-400k range for a single family “starter” home, it begs the question… is that affordable? Really? Hawaii’s greatest resource is her people – and the various cultures we bring to our lifestyle here. If we require people to live in $300k “affordable” homes that aren’t really affordable but represent the cheapest available, and don’t pay them a corresponding wage, we have bigger problems than one development can conquer.

Seems like business as usual in the Aloha State. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it for another 40 years, like the “Mamalahoa bypass” on the Big Island, currently nearly 50 years of big talk, no action.

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

September 1, 2009

Aloha, David. Fascinating. I’d buy the argument about “sustainability” and farm land if we had a government in Hawaii that actually seemed to care at ALL about the local farmers and their industry. The Big Island could probably produce enough food over time to feed the entire Hawaiian Island chain, if it weren’t for things like high fuel surcharges from Matson and Young Brothers, no alternative shipping methods between islands, the strangulation of the farming industry by those who feel everything must be “certified” in Honolulu before being sold to the public and Costco, Safeway, Foodland and KTA buying produce from Mexico. I mean really, Foodland the other day had Mangos from Mexico for $3/POUND! Really? I get them fo’ FREE off the trees in Puako. Insane.

I’m not a huge proponent of development, but in this case it doesn’t seem to be the “farmers” the SLUC is trying to save, but some overinflated sense of “charming history” on Oahu. When “affordable housing” hovers around the $300-400k range for a single family “starter” home, it begs the question… is that affordable? Really? Hawaii’s greatest resource is her people – and the various cultures we bring to our lifestyle here. If we require people to live in $300k “affordable” homes that aren’t really affordable but represent the cheapest available, and don’t pay them a corresponding wage, we have bigger problems than one development can conquer.

Seems like business as usual in the Aloha State. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it for another 40 years, like the “Mamalahoa bypass” on the Big Island, currently nearly 50 years of big talk, no action.

Aloha Tony

September 1, 2009

Hey David, good to see you blogging on hi life. I wish you the best there my friend! I’m going to put you in my RSS.

I drove by the area you are speaking about and Dr Horton must be nuts to think we should get rid of all that great farmland. Too many homes and too much traffic already for the amount of infrastructure we have. Plus, at some point we’ll run out of water and nowhere to put all the trash.

Aloha Tony

September 1, 2009

Hey David, good to see you blogging on hi life. I wish you the best there my friend! I’m going to put you in my RSS.

I drove by the area you are speaking about and Dr Horton must be nuts to think we should get rid of all that great farmland. Too many homes and too much traffic already for the amount of infrastructure we have. Plus, at some point we’ll run out of water and nowhere to put all the trash.

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