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We Can’t Eat Houses

Why we don’t need subdivisions at Ho‘opili and Koa Ridge

It can’t be comfortable for City employees to appear at hearings as the City’s expert witnesses. They have to parrot the City position, yet not betray their professional integrity. But apart from the witness stand dodgeball game, clear, honest assessments can sometimes be found in the written testimony they provide.

The truth about the “need” for Hoopili and Koa Ridge is offered by Bob Stanfield, City planner, in his written testimony for the Land Use Commission’s Ho’opili hearings. “The demand for new homes on Oahu in any given year will depend on the state of Oahu’s economy, but our long-range projection is that the demand through 2035 for homes in Central O’ahu and ‘Ewa will average 1,800 a year,” Stanfield wrote. There are 26 years between 2009 and 2035. Doing the math, 26 x 1,800 = 46,800. That’s the number needed by 2035.

The good news is, mission accomplished already, without developing Hoopili or Koa Ridge.

The latest draft of the ‘Ewa Development Plan states that, in the ‘Ewa area, there are 34,805 homes already approved by the LUC, fully zonedand ready to be built. Central O’ahu has another 12,000 homes at Waiawa by Gentry and 3,500 more in Royal Kunia, Waikele, and Launani Valley, also ready and waiting to be built. That’s a total of 50,305 homes, meaning we’ve already got, in the pipeline–3,505 more than we need.

If Horton is allowed to build Hoopili, we will have 62,055 homes, that is, 15,000 too many. There will be a glut in the market. And then there’s the 5,000 homes for Koa Ridge.

As Stanfield notes: “If Hoopili is not available to build new homes to meet the demand for housing in Leeward Oahu, new homes in University of Hawaii West Oahu, West Kapolei, Makaiwa Hill, or Royal Kunia would be built instead….” That’s by and far the better alternative.

Forty percent of fruits and vegetables grown on Oahu come from Hoopili and Koa Ridge lands. We can’t eat houses. Save Oahu Farmlands.

–The writer is a founder of Save Oahu Farmlands Alliance