On January 11, 2017, the City and County of Honolulu City Council Budget Committee will consider Resolution 16-321 to sell a portion of Kahalu’u Regional Park. It’s the 20,957 sq. ft. Zoned B-1 Lot close to the Kahalu’u Hygienic Store. The Subject Lot is identified with a yellow pin in the above photo.
(Click above for link to agenda and to submit online testimony)
REGULAR MEETING COMMITTEE MEETING ROOM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017
(Note: Ernie Martin, as Chair of City Council, was following customary practice of introducing this Resolution – BR – By Request. The Kirk Caldwell administration
generated this Resolution on November 30, 2016 for Council Hearing, after the November 8, 2016 mayoral elections.)
As a matter of good public policy, we oppose this short-sighted trend to sell public lands. It may make sense to sell vestigial tiny strips of “remnant” land that are awkwardly located to adjacent owners but continuing to sell significant-sized land parcels is selling the inheritance of Oahu’s future generations.
As this island becomes more congested, open space and community parks and land for public purposes will become more valuable and imperative, not less.
This proposed sale is not in the interest of the inhabitants of Oahu.
Furthermore, we question the following bureaucratic justification provided in Resolution 16-321, as excerpted below:
1. “WHEREAS, the BFS Director has proposed and recommended the sale of Parcel 1 by a sealed public bidding process for the minimum upset price of $455,000, based on an appraisal by the Department of Design and Construction; and WHEREAS, Parcel 1 will be awarded to the bidder submitting the highest sealed bid that is not less than the minimum upset price of $455,000; “
What really is rationale behind proposing and recommending the sale of this unique parcel?
We see no logical or compelling reasons given beside invoking the ordinances that allow such an action.
Who was the certified appraiser who valued this?
How will the sealed bidding process be advertised to the public and conducted?
What are the financing and purchase criteria?
When will the public be provided detailed information about this sealed bidding process?
How can the public be assured that this Business -1 parcel is not already spoken for by friends of Mayor Kirk Caldwell?
Will the public be allowed as public observers at this sealed bid opening to ensure transparency?
2. “WHEREAS, the sale proceeds from the sale of Parcel 1 shall be expended only for the acquisition of property for park or recreational purposes, in accordance with HRS Section 46-1.5 (1 6)(C) and ROH Section 37-1.4(c);”
How does this make fiscal or good policy for our island home?
Why sell a piece of public park land to buy another property for a park or recreational purposes? Where and for what recreational purposes? This Subject Lot has been a park where locals go crabbing or just enjoy the open space and rural views.
We are not convinced that selling public land in order for proceeds to be expended elsewhere is fiscally prudent or in the best interest for the inhabitants of Oahu.
Wouldn’t it make more sense for Mayor Caldwell to be more efficient and prudent in his fiscal management of the city’s treasury?
A case in point: Why spend $1.2 Million to hire a mainland consultant from New York for the Ala Moana Park? Many locals
ended up being irritated by Mayor Caldwell forgetting that Ala Moana Park is heavily used by locals. The garish suggestions that lacked “sense of place”
suggested by out-of-state experts ended up wasting precious funds.
Adding to the above questions, the definition of “remnant” properties and its implementation are arbitrary and loosely used with no big-picture public good governance for Oahu. Example: The 3.4 acres Haleiwa Mauka Park can hardly be considered a “remnant”. Yet, the City & County of Honolulu negotiated with Developer Andy Anderson on the 3.4 acres of land mauka of Kamehameha Highway across from the Haleiwa Regional Beach Park and northeast of Jameson’s Restaurant for Anderson’s planned hotel development.
Citizens were able to preserve this public land in public hands with the assistance of City Council Chair Ernie Martin, Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi and other Council members. Ironically, funds allocated to this area’s improvement have been in limbo for years and not expended by Mayor Caldwell.
Without question, the Kahalu’u Subject Lot of 20,957 sq. ft. Zoned B-1 cannot be considered as “remnant” land either. Residents use this park land for crabbing, fishing, simple enjoyment of the outdoors and the views and so forth.
It’s important to note that the opportunities for commercializing this subject lot are significant. Structures can be built up to 40 feet (3-story) with mixed business and residential uses. Depending on the flood elevation, structures could be higher than 40 feet from ground up.
This unique Kahalu’u location is also the gateway to the rural “Keep the Country Country” region.
Views of Ko’olau mountains from Subject Lot. Photo by Harry Honda.
Is it in the best interest of the Oahu General Plan
to expand urban sprawl into the country?
Will it undermine the rural golden goose that tourists love so much?
Has the city consulted with the affected communities about this proposed sale and seek their input on the best use of this parcel?
Will the public be allowed to share their mana’o on how this Lot could be used for the enjoyment and benefit of its inhabitants?