Diary

Quoted

The end-case scenario, they say, is that these major developments would ruin the country living so vital to their lifestyles.

Marriott Laie Hotel / In the mid-1960s, the Laniloa Lodge courtyard-style hotel on Kamehameha Highway in Laie was a popular lodging spot near the shoreline for faculty, friends and family members of students from Brigham Young University (BYU), as well as visitors seeking to escape the crowds of Waikiki.

Over the years, the 49-room, two-floor hotel–owned by the Mormon Church–had fallen into disrepair. Demolished in November 2009, the church planned to replace it with a mid-priced hotel operated by Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

But controversy and public skepticism has surrounded the project from the beginning. City officials initially welcomed “substantive input” from the community but ran out of money to fund the group. So in June 2009, the “Keep the Country Country” activists published their own preliminary draft, which explicitly excluded the five proposed Turtle Bay hotels and the “Envision Laie” project.

Opponents of the new hotel are convinced it would create a population explosion requiring the widening of Kam Highway; worsening environmental impacts, such as Laie’s history of flooding; and creating a slew of subdivisions just west of Laie Town, nearly doubling its size. The end-case scenario, they say, is that these major developments would ruin the country living so vital to their lifestyles.

In October 2010, Department of Public Planning (DPP) Director David Tanoue released a public review draft that clearly rejected the community’s feedback. On June 1, Tanoue and the City’s five-member zoning committee voted unanimously to recommend that full City Council approval be granted to the Hawaii Reserves Inc. (HRI) and BYU.

Resolution 11-84 CD1 was on the agenda to be heard before the full City Council last Wednesday. If approved, all building permits for the hotel would have been granted. Executives from the 222-room, four-story Marriott Laie Hotel are optimistic and already preparing for its groundbreaking. It expects to open in September 2013, coinciding with the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 50th anniversary.

Planner Tanoue said in a recent meeting that the HRI has so far met all requirements [except for those requested on July 6], and that the project will have “no adverse impact on the area.” The Weekly expects to report the details of the meeting in next week’s Diary.