Monday, May 22, 2017

Chairman's Commentary: Vital Topics, Respectful Discussions Marked Our May Board Meeting

By: Mo Radke
Mo Radke is the Chairman of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board.
Aloha mai kakou –
At the May 2017 meeting of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board, I was honored to preside over a meeting attended by over 200 community members who shared their concerns and support for some important community topics.
Serenity Gardens Cemetery Proposal was presented to the community planned for a plot of land in Puohala Village.  A question and answer period followed and was met with over 70 online petition responses and 6 personal phone calls to board members and a number of residents in attendance opposing the development.   The board voted to send their opposition to the plan to the appropriate city departments.
Hawaiian Memorial Park (HMP) presented an “idea” a few months ago during a community meeting at the Pali golf course.  At last night’s meeting HMP presented a completely new plan incorporating the concerns of the community from the golf course meeting.  While the plan is still in a draft stage, the board did not introduce any motions for action and will continue to ask HMP to provide more permanent plans as they are developed. 
1.        Rain water runoff appears to be the major concern of the residents
2.       The Koolaupoko Civic Club submitted a letter of support for the HMP plan and testified in support.
3.       People generally were pleased with the HMP historic preservation aspects of the heiau and other culturally sensitive sites.
4.       Opponents cite the water runoff problems as critical – the board would like to hear from engineers regarding this concern before making a decision to support the expansion plan.
5.       The previous expansion plan no longer exists – this is an entirely new plan representing the community concerns of the residents and a more controlled expansion for HMP. 
6.       Perpetuity clauses are inserted to ensure the expansion sites remain cared for even when the cemetery “sells out”.
Haiku Stairs: With 10 minutes left in the meeting and still a Haiku Stairs decision-making section remaining – along with about 50 residents, the board agreed to extend the meeting and allow introduction of the resolution and discussion.  Voting on the resolution would be deferred to the June meeting.  The discussion lasted until 10 pm. 
I want to thank the board and the community for representing their views with balance and respect and trying to keep emotional pleas and outbursts to a minimum.
G70, a planning group, is contracted by the Board of Water Supply to complete an Environmental Impact Statement with the option of removing the stairs, turning over the stairs to another entity, allowing a managed access plan or doing nothing.  Public input is due by May 23. 
To read about the EIS, use this link: http://www.boardofwatersupply.com/community/haiku-stairs
To submit testimony, send an email to:  haikustairs@g70.design
Presently, the EIS process is in the preliminary stage, input from the stakeholders will help to inform the DRAFT EIS which should follow soon after.  
For and against issues have not changed; Opponents continue to have their property rights trampled by trespassers, literally, by those who follow online trespassing instructions and continue to park-and-walk in the neighborhood during many different times at night to try and avoid an ineffectual security guard situation which does not deter trespassing onto both private and BWS property.
Proponents continue to tout the majesty of the stairs as a local, national and spiritual treasure, the connection to the WWII and significance as a critical communications site, the opportunity explore, study and educate and potential partnerships that remove and prohibit access from within the Haiku neighborhood and moves it to another access point.
Chair’s Editorial Comments: Passion for a topic usually evokes passion of voice.  Passion in voice usually places positions of opposing views apart from each other.  So how do opposing sides meet somewhere where the process can move forward? 
Presently, the community residents will not budge on their position to have anything other than total removal of the stairs as that action, they believe, will totally remove the trespassers because there are no more stairs to climb. Groups wanting to reopen the stairs claim that a controlled and managed access plan will force hikers to properly register and report to a “base station” before hiking the stairs. This entity would be accountable for their business operations to collect a fee to support the maintenance, hire staff to monitor activity on the stairs and protect its investment by seeking to eliminate trespassers to the stairs.
Landowners like Department of Hawaiian Homelands, BWS and Kamehameha Schools are not interested in allowing access – and why should they?  What is the benefit to those organizations allowing access across a portion of their property without a proven plan to remove their liability or conduct an action not related to their kuleana. 
Since these are editorial comments, an OPINION, I offer the following: I believe a managed access plan should be tried on a small scale to see if the Haiku neighborhood at the stairs can be relieved of trespassers.  An entity such as Friends of Haiku stairs should either supervise the access plan or implement the plan themselves and purchase insurance to indemnify the landowners during the test period.  I also think it would be an awesome gesture on behalf of the proponents of reopening to assist the residents with the neighborhood watch program in the wee hours of the morning to help get the word out to the online hiking blogs that “how-to” to get onto the stairs no longer works.  Partnerships and collaboration between the parties may build the needed trust and momentum that’s needed.  Something of substance is needed now!
More than 200 community members attended our May meeting. They
shared their views with balance and respect. -- Donald Dawson photo



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cemetery Developments, Future of Haiku Stairs On May Agenda For Kaneohe Neighborhood Board

The agenda is set for our meeting on Thursday, May 18, and we hope you will join us. Details are below. To review the complete agenda online, click on this link.

Serenity Gardens Proposal: A representative of R.M. Towill Corporation is scheduled to outline plans to develop a cemetery on 5.3 acres of land between Puohala and Waiawi Streets near the Kaneohe Stream. Keith Kurahashi, principal planner at R.M. Towill, told our agenda planning meeting that the land is currently overgrown with brush and is appropriately zoned for a cemetery. He said that the project requires City Council approval and that Neighborhood Board support would be helpful.

Hawaiian Memorial Park Proposal: Representatives of the mortuary are scheduled to discuss a proposal to expand its cemetery, which is nearly full. The proposal will require an amendment to the Koolaupoko Sustainable Communities Plan. In addition to adding cemetery space, the project will include a buffer zone to separate the addition from the adjacent Pohai Nani retirement community. It also will include protection for a 15-acre cultural preserve that includes a nearly thousand-year-old sacred site, the Kawa’ewa’e Heiau.

Haiku Stairs: A representative of Friends of Haiku Stairs is expected to present a plan for reopening the stairs to the public under managed access. At our agenda planning meeting, we learned that the Friends group believes funds from access fees would cover expenses such as maintenance, security, insurance and staffing. As outlined, this approach would provide educational and cultural opportunities in addition to recreation. Board Vice Chairman Bill Sager is scheduled to present a resolution about the issue for Board action. Note: The Board of Water Supply, which controls the stairs, is seeking public comment as part of a review of the potential environmental impacts of removing the structure. More information about this issue is available on the Water Supply website. Comments on the issue may be sent to haikustairs@g70.design. Comments are due by May 23.

Other Business: Our agenda always includes time for reports from the Fire and Police Departments, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, elected officials from the state and local levels, community organizations, and our Board committees.

Details: The Board meeting will take place in the cafeteria of Benjamin Parker Elementary School, 45-259 Waikalua Road, starting at 7 p.m. Click on the highlighted link above to read the full agenda and find more information about agenda topics. The minutes of our April meeting and of the May agenda planning meeting also are now available. Click on the highlighted links to read them.

We welcome your comments, in person and online
Please join us for all of our meetings. The agenda always includes time for comments by community members. If you are unable to attend, you may provide testimony online and contact Neighborhood Board members directly.

Comments on this blog are welcomed. To add a comment, please click on the link below. Also, please like us on Facebook and comment there. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Reminder About The 2017 Board Elections From The Honolulu Neighborhood Commission

From our friends at the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission:

Aloha!

As of today, over 15,000 voters have cast their ballot in the 2017 Neighborhood Board elections!
Did you vote?

If you did not vote yet, visit www2.honolulu.gov/nbe with your passcode and the last four digits of your social security number. Your unique passcode was sent in the mail along with the candidate profiles.

Online voting will be available until 11:59p.m. on Friday, May 19.

If you have lost or misplaced your passcode, you may request a replacement in the mail by calling 768-3781. 

If you do not have acess to a computer and would like to request a paper ballot by mail, you may call the ballot request hotline at 768-3763. The last day for voters to request a paper ballot by mail is Monday, May 15 at 4:30p.m. Returned paper ballots must be postmarked by Friday, May 19 and received by the NCO no later than Friday, May 26. Returned paper ballots delivered in person must be received by the NCO office at 925 Dillingham Boulevard, Suite 160 prior to 4:30pm on Friday, May 19.

During this voting period, the NCO has made computers available to the public at these locations:
· Kapolei Hale conference room C, 1000 Ulu'ohi'a Street (Monday thru Friday from8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
· Kapalama Hale, Suite 160, 925 Dillingham Boulevard (Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
· The KEY project in Kahalu‘u at 47-200 Waihe‘e Road from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
· Any public library on O'ahu within the Hawai'i State Public Library System (see library hours)

Election results will be announced no later than June 1, 2017.

Mahalo,
Elections Staff
Neighborhood Commission Office 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Join Us For Our May Meetings

Agenda Planning Meeting
Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m.
Kaneohe District Park
45-660 Keaahala Road
                                    
Regular Board Meeting
Thursday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Benjamin Parker Elementary School
45-259 Waikalua Road

If you are unable to attend, you may provide testimony online and contact Neighborhood Board members directly.

Comments on this blog are welcomed. To add a comment, please click on the link below. Also, please like us on Facebook and comment there.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Voting For 2017 Neighborhood Board Election Runs Through May 19 -- Here's How To Take Part

Here are key facts about participating in the election, including how to cast an online ballot, from our friends at the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission.
ELECTION F.A.Q.s
Who can vote?
Any Oahu resident who will be at least 18 years of age by February 17, 2017 can become a registered voter, including military personnel, military family members, and legal resident aliens.

How do I register to vote?
If you voted in the 2016 State elections, you are automatically eligible to vote in the 2017 Neighborhood Board elections. If you are not registered for the State elections, learn how here: State Voter Registration
Voter registration for the 2017 Neighborhood Board elections has now ended. 

How do I find out what Board area I live in?
There is a street index posted online at www.honolulu.gov/nco.  
Assistance is also available by calling 768-3781.

When will the Board elections take place?
The election is slated to begin April 28, 2017 and end May 19, 2017.

When will I receive my passcode?
Passcodes will be mailed out prior to Friday, April 28, 2017. You should expect to receive it within 3-4 days.

Online Voting:
Log onto www2.honolulu.gov/nbe
Online Voting Ends: 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2017

Don’t have internet access?
The following voting sites with computer access will be open during the voting period of April 28, 2017 through May 19, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.:
· Kapolei Hale conference room A, 1000 Ulu'ohi'a Street (Monday thru Friday)
·  Kapalama Hale, Dillingham Boulevard, Suite 160 (Monday thru Friday)
· The KEY project in Kahalu‘u at 47-200 Waihe‘e Road from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Monday thru Friday)
· Any public library on Oahu within the Hawaii State Public Library System (see library hours)

Voting by Mail
If you are unable to vote online, you may request a paper ballot by calling the Ballot Request Hotline at 768-3763 no later than Monday, May 15, 2017, 4:30 p.m. with your full name, last four digits of your SSN, and residential address. Returned ballots must be postmarked by Friday, May 19, 2017 and received by the NCO no later than Friday, May 26, 2017.

When will the results be announced?
The results are released no later than 7 days following the end of voting.

How often do Neighborhood Boards get elected?
Neighborhood Boards are elected every two years, in odd numbered years.

Why doesn’t NCO hold elections in conjunction with the State elections?
The State has opined that the neighborhood board elections may not be permitted into the state's polling places during the conduct of state or county elections.
 

Monday, April 24, 2017

2 Community Members Are Appointed To Fill Vacant Seats On Kaneohe Neighborhood Board

During our April meeting, we were pleased to appoint two community members to fill vacant positions on the Board.

Their names, the sub-districts they represent and their contact information are as follows:

Holly Sevier, Sub-District 3 (Haiku Village/Plantations) -- 925 Dillingham Blvd. Suite 160, Honolulu, HI 96817, hsevier@hawaii.edu.
Jeremiah Sanders, Sub-District 12 (Pikoiloa) -- 925 Dillingham Blvd. Suite 160, Honolulu, HI 96817, sanders80844@gmail.com.
They will serve the remainder of the current Board term, through June 30. The makeup of the next Board will be determined in the upcoming Neighborhood Board election. It will start Friday, April 28, and run through May 19.
Mr. Sanders is the only candidate from Sub-District 12 who is on the ballot for the upcoming election.  No candidate has filed for the Sub-District 3 seat. The Board members who are elected this spring will be authorized to fill empty seats by appointment after their terms begin July 1.
A complete list of candidates is available on the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission website (scroll down to the list for District 30). Additional information about the election, including voter eligibility, is available on the Neighborhood Commission website.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Haiku Stairs Testimony Draws Media Coverage Of Kaneohe Neighborhood Board Meeting

Our April meeting attracted media coverage about the future of the Haiku Stairs.

Here's a link to the story from Hawaii News Now, which includes a video: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/35206680/supporters-of-stairway-to-heaven-speak-out-as-deadline-looms#

We'll post more information about the meeting in the coming days.