Friday, August 7, 2015

Expansion Of State Hospital, Concerns About Park On Agenda For Neighborhood Board Meeting

The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board is scheduled to take action on several fronts at its August meeting. The meeting will take place Thursday, August 20, at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Benjamin Parker Elementary School, 45-259 Waikalua Road

The complete agenda is available online. Among the issues to be addressed are: 
  • Appointing members of a Public Information Group to review the proposed Hawaii State Hospital master plan. The plan will expand services at the hospital and could affect future growth of neighboring Windward Community College. The information group is to start its work by visiting two proposed sites for a new building that is part of the expansion. The visit would take place Saturday, August 29, at 9 a.m. The group’s first formal meeting would be Tuesday, September 1, at 6 p.m. at the Kaneohe Community and Senior Center, 45-613 Puohala Street. Board Vice Chair Bill Sager has volunteered to serve as chair of the information group until that meeting. One objective of the group is to meet with the key decision-makers from the hospital, college, state Department of Health and University of Hawaii.
  • Voting on a proposal to restrict activities at Kea’alau Neighborhood Park, 44-500 Kaneohe Bay Drive. Neighbor Don Fern spoke to the Board’s planning meeting on August 4, and said he would like the city to take several actions to counter disruptive behavior at the park. Mr. Fern said he wants the park closed at night because of late-night partying there. He wants police to monitor dog-owners who aren’t controlling their pets. And he wants the city to cut down two trees that attract groups of mango pickers who litter and climb the trees.  Kea’alau Park is a passive facility that is surrounded by Yacht Club Terrace homes. 

Also at the August planning meeting, the Board discussed ways to increase community outreach. Among the approaches will be monthly news releases to the MidWeek newspaper, increased efforts to optimize content for search engines and greater use of social media.

The Board also discussed voting rules and the importance of having strong attendance at meetings. Neighborhood board votes are based on the number of seats on the board. The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board has 17 seats and must have nine members in attendance to have a quorum. In addition, at least nine members must vote in favor of a proposal for it to pass. So, an empty seat or an abstention constitutes a “no” vote.  

The issue came up because of a reminder to Board members that those who have a conflict of interest on an issue must recuse themselves from voting on it. (Note: A roster of the 17 Board members is available on our website.) 

Finally, the Board decided at the planning meeting to include the Blue Zones Project in its agendas through the end of the year. The Board had previously voted to support the work of the organization. In addition, the Board decided to rename the Safety Committee to the Community Resilience Committee, to better define its role in making Kaneohe a more resilient community in responding to disasters.

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