As usual, the Devil’s in the Details of the Department of Permiting and Planning’s ruling.
You can Click Here to view the Key pages of the Ruling.
(pages 8 – 10, 14, 18 – 20, and the decision on page 27)
You can also view the Full Ruling document Here. (6mb download).
The key pages in the Full Ruling document start on page numbers: 20 and 29. (in Adobe Reader page numbers at the top).
Here is the key Decision regarding the most important issue the Waikiki Neighborhood Board and many people were concerned with – the orientation and mass of the wall (page 27):
“The tower portion of the building should consider graduated, stepped forms, and/or other appropriate architectural features and design elements to soften the appearance of the tower and reduce its apparent mass, particularly as viewed from Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues.”
The DPP agreed with the public input that (see page 14):
“The resulting Kuhio Avenues façade as currently proposed presents itself as a monolith. Its appearance is characterized by many in the community who commented on the project as a wall. These characterizations are not undeserved.”
So the key issue now is what action the developer takes, and the DPP approves, with regard to the “reduction of apparent mass”.
If this reduction solely takes the form of graduated stepped forms at the top of the building and just, to quote the developer Jason Grosfeld, only “minor and cosmetic” architectural and design element changes (Star Advertiser March 21, 2013), rather than any meaningful reductions in the (east/west) length of the building, then the substance of the public and Neighborhood Board’s input to the planning process will have been ignored.
The Design Advisory Committee (DAC) stated that (see pages 8, 9 & 10):
“The proposal does not reflect the spirit of the WSD…”
While the Decision enforces many WSDD Guidelines, it bypasses the biggest one that:
“all new high-rise structures should have a mauka-makai orientation”
Without a reduction in the length of the building (or change in orientation), the DPP will be supporting a “free for all” for future high-rise structures to block out mauka/makai views across the whole length of Waikiki.
The next few months will determine whether the DPP has made serious efforts to support the letter and spirit of the WSDDG, or alternatively, whether this week’s Decision sidesteps these guidelines by seeking purely ”minor and cosmetic“ changes to this building.
We have 30 days until April 18th to appeal the decision.
Click Here to see the cover page with details for appealing.