Friday, February 20, 2009

Hawaiian Memorial Park

Feburary 19, The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board Meeting

The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board (KNB) discussed the proposed expansion of the Hawaiian Memorial Park. The resolution which was vocally supported by many residents was passed by a majority vote by the board (9-3-1). The passage of the resolution effectively nullifies all concessions offered by HMP during the past two years.

Due to community participation in the planning process, the expansion plan has changed a great deal since it was first presented to the Board two years ago. The plan to build residential homes on a portion of the property was dropped. Provision was made to protect the native Laua’e fern used by lei makers by its exclusion from the plan. A buffer was to have been maintained between adjacent homes and the cemetery. At our February 19 meeting, the HMP agreed to put a covenant in the deed stating that houses could never be built on the property and they committed to engineering drainage to contain a 50 year flood. This could have had huge benefit to downstream home owners who are frequently flooded during heavy rains.

Those opposing the project sited, increased run off which would cause flooding and sedimentation to the Kaneohe Bay and the destruction of Conservation Land. They are concerned that views will be degraded. Those bordering the development fear living down stream from flood containment dams and the potential for mud to inundate their homes particularly during construction.

Several people testified that the Koolaupoko Sustainable Community Plan and the Kaneohe Master Plan state that one of the communities highest priorities is to restrict further development to filling in undeveloped urban land and to resist efforts to expand the Urban Zoning. The fear is, if expansion is allowed for this project, where will it stop.

One possible consequence of HMP's failure to secure a zoning change may force them to sell the undeveloped property. If the undeveloped property is subsequently sold to another developer it would be very likely that the the subsequent buyer would seek to develop the land in some other way. Perhaps a full on housing subdivision or some other type of development on that land. Something that might address flooding concerns of area residents below the property to the county required 10yr flood and one that might be less aestheticly pleasing and more visible within their viewplain than a memorial park would have been.

No comments: