I will start off by saying: “You should have been there!”. The meeting was in the beautiful “Council Chamber” on the 3rd floor.
It was the most hotly debated resolution and discussion of the day, and there were many other resolutions on the agenda.
Most of the resolutions went through in about 5 minutes each or less. The 2121 Kuhio Tower 50-foot variance resolution discussion lasted about 45 minutes.
Almost every council member spoke and asked serious questions to the Developer and the DPP. They did their work pretty well. It was obvious that they read our testimonies beforehand, and showed great concern regarding the orientation of this building and the justification for it, along with other issues about the project. This was encouraging.
Craig and Mark both gave oral testimony, as well as about 10 others, some of which did not address the orientation issue.
You can read Mark’s testimony here: Second Oral Testimony by Mark H – Given 1/30/2013.
In the end, it was a very good discussion. I’m quite surprised it didn’t make it into the Thursday newspaper. I will contact the paper and ask them, since they seem to have been covering every other event about the project.
There was one strong objection, and 2 votes “with reservation”. Ron Menor, a very smart council member who objected, had a very compelling speech as to why he believed the council should not vote on the issue, and that he believes a Full EIA (Environmental Impact Assesment) is warranted.
Stanley Chang (the Waikiki District council member), spoke afterwards and started off by revealing that “this Developer contributes to his campaign“. Wow! That sure doesn’t help our confidence in him when it comes to community issues and developers. Anyway, he went on to point out his viewpoint, and that he rejects Ron Menor’s objections and request for a full EIA.
This hearing turned out to be very important, and it should be an alert to the DPP and others that there are serious concerns and lack of sufficient justification for building this building in its planned design as a wall to the ocean.
The main justification stated again at the hearing by the Developer’s consultant for building parallel to the ocean, was that “The Diamond Head / Eva orientation provides a narrower blockage when viewed from the public view cones along Kalakaua“. Mark Harpenau stood up for a 2nd testimony after that, and pointed out to the Council members that if this is in fact a more important justification than the preferred mauka/makai orientation guidelines, then that means that “Every building in Waikiki along Kalakaua should be built as a wall, parallel to the ocean“. And this is definitely not the intent of the guidelines.
For those who haven’t attended these hearings, please, please come to the next hearing with the DPP on Feb 12th. We need your support. And please write up a short testimony that you can read at the hearing. Now is the time. Otherwise, the opportunity to be heard will be gone.
This is important for the future of Waikiki and our neighborhood. There is insufficient justification for building a wall over a mauka/makai oriented building at this location. It’s not a matter of whether to build, it’s a matter of proper planning and building the best design for the future of Waikiki.
Here are details for the Next hearing with the DPP on Feb 12th, 9:00 AM.