On Wed, March 12, 2014 the full City Council unanimously approved the 50ft height variance Resolution for Tower 2 requested by PACREP, LLC who is planning to build a 2nd tower next to Tower 1 (also 350ft). Tower 1 is currently under construction and will be managed by Ritz-Carlton.
The approved Resolution included the Amendment which states that the gap between the towers will be a minimum of 75 feet – an amendment that both the Developer and the DPP supported and agreed to.
Civil Beat posted an article on the hearing here.
During the hearing, Councilmember Ikaika Anderson, who was the committee chairman during the 3 previous hearings, also announced that he’s returning $10,000 of campaign contributions he received from PACREP (out of the approximately $24,850) during the course of both towers’ approval periods over the last 2.5 years.
No such statement has been made by Waikiki District Councilmember Stanley Chang or Mayor Kirk Caldwell who also received large sums from the Developer PACREP LLC, their family members and business associates.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell alone received over $50,000 (see story here), which in comparison to typical contributions is large. The Mayor appointed the DPP Director, George Atta early last year, who later approved Tower 1 and is also currently the top man in charge for approval of Tower 2.
One of the people who testified at the hearing to uphold the guidelines (as we are) was Natalie Iwasa. She is in the running to replace Stanley Chang on City Council.
The remaining approval process for Tower 2 rests entirely with the DPP, which has the all-important authority to approve the design and adherence to WSD guidelines (and the Resolution Amendment) in order to issue the Special District Permit.
Again, we applaud Councilmember Ikaika Anderson for taking a lead and working with the community. (Something Waikiki District Councilmember Stanley Chang did not do). Many people were wondering why Councilmember Chang did not make any effort to at least show support for the concerns from the community he represents, or to at least try to bring the parties together for discussion as Councilmember Anderson did. Even when asked during Neighborhood Board meetings about his position on the issue of following the guidelines during Tower 1, Councilmember Chang ducked the question and avoided any direct answer.
DPP’s Approval Process Needs Improvement
Many people believe that the DPP’s all-important decision making authority to comply (or not comply) with the WSD guidelines, needs more checks-and-balances. To reiterate, the DPP completely ignored the Design Advisory Committee, the Waikiki Neighborhood Board and the community on objections to the massive width of Tower 1. Below is a list of the objections by the Design Advisory Committee which are noted in the Final Approval document for Tower 1. The DAC couldn’t have been clearer about the lack of adherence to the WSD guidelines and lack of any valid reason to ignore the fundamental principle of preserving view planes.
Again, read the last paragraph. And note that the DPP required absolutely no change to the width of Tower 1 as strongly requested by the DAC, the WNB, and many community members. And now, these 2 towers together will make an even wider wall.
Aloha and a big Mahalo to everyone for your ongoing efforts to try and uphold the building guidelines for Waikiki.