The City Council Planning and Zoning Committee hearing last Thursday (Feb 27, 2014) on the 2139 Kuhio – Tower 2 – Resolution 14-38 (for a height variance), lasted about 4 hours. There were lots of testimonies given from both sides, with many questions asked by the committee about the serious concerns from the community.
You can see video of the hearing here: (it starts at about 38 minutes in)
After a long debate at the end, it was recommended by the Chair (Council member Anderson) to have a second “special” City Council public hearing meeting next week (Thursday Mar 6, at 9am) – see details below. The developer was urged to come back with “something”. Most likely a promise to limit the gap to no less than 75 feet. They were asked if it could be in writing at one point. We’ll see on Thursday if the Developer honors any of the requests.
Council member Chang did not vote for the special meeting or to have any continued discussion. Instead he voted to pass the resolution. The Vice Chair even said he was dismayed at Chang’s position. Chang asked very few questions during the entire time and didn’t show any support for his constituents in our opinion.
Throughout the discussions, much of the talk by the Developer was about how the planned building has been shifted by the Developer as much as they can to try to be more Mauka/Makai oriented. But at no time did anyone point out, that the real reason they can’t (or won’t) shift it to a more Mauka/Makai orientation, is that they want to preserve “all ocean-facing units”. It is as if the DPP and the Developer are operating under an assumption that anything less economically viable than a tower with all ocean facing units is out of the question and not to be considered. (Even on this lot which is oriented Mauka/Makai). It’s basically a repeat scenario of Tower 1, – which could have been built narrower if units were built on the sides, instead of the ocean side only. But as we know, the Developer got away with all ocean facing units, and the community will have a wide wall blocking ocean and mountain views.
Also, it was unbelievable to hear the DPP state multiple times during the hearing that “the guidelines are just guidelines”. How shocking is that coming from the city DPP! In the next meeting (Thursday) people should point out these sections of the LUO (link below):
This Bill to amend the LUO was approved on Sep 8, 2011:
Note: The word “shall” is key.
Again, it was pretty shocking to hear the DPP completely discredit the guidelines. They are crucial to proper further development of Waikiki.
All in all, it was encouraging to see the large turnout, and to see the City Council committee show their concern. The way the resolution is written, City Council has plenty of options to request the developer to change the design / form of the project in order to approve the Bill. This time around it seemed they were using those options.
Hope to see as many people as possible at Thursday’s special hearing. It’s your last chance to have your 2 cents heard by this committee.
Here is the info and details for testifying (it’s easy to submit your testimony, just keep it brief and to the point):