A nearly five-hour meeting held by the city Planning Commission March 6 to discuss whether to adopt the revised Koʻolauloa Sustainable Communities Plan (KSCP) revealed a deep divide between community members.
In June 2009, a group of community organizers created a draft of the plan that was accepted by the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP). But in 2010, the DPP released a version of the plan for public review that included development not in the community-created draft. (See “Keeping the Country Country,” March 2, 2011).
Two major parts of that development are expansion of Turtle Bay Resort and the “Envision Laie” proposal, which would allow Brigham Young University (BYU) to expand into Malaekahana ranchlands with several major building projects.
Supporters of the project, who attended the meeting in light blue shirts, made up a majority of the some 200 people who attended. They argued that the expansion will allow families to stay together by supplying good-paying work and affordable housing.
But opponents (many wearing green “Keep the Country Country” shirts) argued that the plan is simply further urbanization that won’t actually benefit longtime residents.
“I have relatives working for both BYU and Turtle Bay; I understand the need for economic opportunity,” said Kent Fonoimoana of Defend Oahu Coalition. But he said the project wouldn’t provide economic opportunity to all residents equally. He pointed to plans for a hotel, saying that 75 percent of those jobs are reserved for BYU students, only 15 percent of which are from the Pacific region.
And, ultimately, Fonoimoana said, much of the concern over the plan has to do with the Planning Commission’s decision to overrule the previous community plan. “The community spoke,” he said.
The commission approved a motion for continuance before adjourning, so the issue was to be taken up again March 20. The commission could modify the plan, pass it along to the City Council, or delay further.