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Envision Commentary in Star-Advertiser, Public Hearing March 5th

As you may have seen, the Sunday, March 1st edition of the Star-Advertiser included a commentary by an Envision Laie team leader, Eric Beaver, president of Hawaii Reserves, Inc.

Screen shot of Eric Beaver commentary in newspaper

We have included it here in case you have missed it:

Laie has always been a model, walkable “live-work-play” sustainable community, long before it became a popular planning concept. However, Hawaii’s shift to a global marketplace has driven home prices far out of reach for most of the state’s working families, including Laie’s and those of nearby areas.

Here the housing crisis creates acute overcrowding, or worse, painful splitting of long-time families, between here and the mainland, making the “live” in our live-work-play community become near impossible for working families.

It’s also undermining the foundation of the region’s cultural, historical, educational and economic drivers, including the Brigham Young University-Hawaii and the world-famous living museum, the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Laie, together with its rich culture, special heritage and unique offerings, has been a significant part of the island’s fabric for 150 years. Bill 47 helps to preserve that legacy into the future by shifting unbuildable existing housing designations to the Laie-Malaekahana area. Existing housing designations are either down-wind of the sewer plant, on steep slopes, low-lying flood prone areas requiring multiple stream crossings for access; or hem in the university – the former makes affordable housing impossible, the latter threatens BYU-Hawaii’s long-term viability.

The Laie-Malaekahana housing designation in Bill 47 is on non-food bearing AG-2 land that is flat and gently sloped, and conducive to affordable housing for our area’s working families.

To eliminate housing from the proposed Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan (KSCP), as contained in Bill 47, is to remove the “live” in what has always been a self-sustaining, live-work-play community. This unfairly shuts the community out of the process.

With no affordable housing options in Laie or Ko’olauloa, our workforce would be compelled to the less sustainable “live-drive-work-drive-sleep” model.

Why not sustain an existing “live-work-play” community by simply carving out a fraction of Oahu’s needed 24,000 units to provide desperately needed housing to keep working families living in the country?

The proposed KSCP includes 875 housing units in Laie-Malaekahana over the next 25-years, and calls for 50 percent of them to be affordable.

Based on well-established workforce housing programs elsewhere, we have identified a solution that could cut home prices roughly in half, and provide a housing preference for local workforce residents.

The KSCP housing designation in Laie-Malaekahana sets aside less than 1 percent of the moku’s acreage to help its families remain and thrive. We have yet to see a better plan.

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Laie Aerial (alternate)

As mentioned, our community has a solution that could cut home prices to roughly half of what’s typically offered in the market, and provide a housing preference for the local workforce.

However, zoning committee chair, Ikaika Anderson, is calling for housing in the Laie-Malaekahana area to be removed from the proposed City plan.

A City Council Zoning & Planning Committee hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, March 5th, 10 a.m. at Honolulu City Council. The committee will take public testimony on Bill 47 – the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan (KSCP).

Some Envision Laie proposals are in the KSCP, such as affordable housing at Malaekahana, and growth for BYU-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center.

If you are in favor of the KSCP, which would help solve the affordable housing crisis in our communities, you can help:

1.  Call and e-mail City Council members, including Ikaika Anderson, to voice your support for housing in Laie-Malaekahana. For phone numbers and e-mail addresses, click on View Councilmembers, under About The Council on their website (www.honolulu.gov/council).

2.  Attend and testify at the hearing on Thursday, March 5th, 10 a.m.

3.  Set up a “cottage meeting” with family and friends to learn more. To do so, please contact Jane Toluono at 293-9201.

We encourage everyone to attend this hearing and participate in the democratic process – your voice and our combined support is critical to our community’s future!

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Public Hearing March 5th

It’s official – a City Council Zoning & Planning Committee hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, March 5th. The committee will take public testimony on Bill 47 – the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan (KSCP).

Some Envision Laie proposals are in the KSCP, such as affordable housing at Malaekahana, and growth for BYU-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Opponents and zoning committee chair, Ikaika Anderson, are calling for housing in the Laie-Malaekahana area to be removed from the KSCP.

The decision of the committee will be based largely on the voices heard at this meeting.

If you are in favor of housing and jobs for our community, now’s the time to make your voice heard:

  • Thursday, March 5th, 10 a.m.
  • Honolulu City Council
  • If you need a ride, round-trip buses to Honolulu leave BYU-Hawaii admin parking lot at 8 a.m.

Laie From Above

We encourage you to attend and wear your blue Envision Laie t-shirt to show your support! Contact Jane Toluono at 293-6467 to request your free t-shirt.

Our community’s future depends on our combined support – our participation is critical. We hope you’ll join us on Thursday!

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Housing Study Information, Councilman Opposes Housing, Public Hearing March 5th

The Envision Laie team recently presented new information regarding affordable housing at a community meeting held at Laie Elementary School.

About one-hundred residents were in attendance earlier this month at the Laie Community Association public forum to receive an update about the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan amendment (KSCP), learn about a recent housing study and ask questions.

LCA President Pane Meatoga, Jr., at a previous community meeting

Pane Meatoga, Jr., at a previous community meeting

Laie Community Association president, Pane Meatoga, Jr., made the presentation. “A 2008 internal review found that the long-term financial sustainability of the Laie institutions and community were a significant concern, and that the growth of the university and creation of affordable housing were critical to our survival,” said Meatoga.

He added, “This message was mirrored through the Envision Laie and City KSCP input processes – we’re in a severe housing crisis, the priority for residents is housing and jobs.”

 Residents participate in 2009 community planning workshops

Residents participate in 2009 community planning workshops

Last year Envision Laie commissioned a proprietary housing study by national real estate experts. The study confirmed that a workforce housing program could facilitate the creation of hundreds of affordable housing units – at least half of the total housing proposed by the KSCP for the Laie-Malaekahana area.

“While there are many components that need to come together, the study showed that a unique approach can cut home prices roughly in half,” said Eric Beaver, president of Hawaii Reserves, Inc.

“For instance, the Oahu median home price is $720,000; we estimate that price ranges (in 2014 dollars) for single family homes could begin at around $310,000″ noted Beaver.

 Affordable housing price ranges - estimated in 2014 $

Affordable housing price ranges – estimated in 2014 $

Beaver added, “These units are higher density and use a unique, long-term ground lease to help create affordability, allow a workforce employee preference, and provide many of the typical benefits of fee ownership, such as home appreciation, mortgage tax deductions, and resale value.” As shown above, fee simple units are also part of the affordable housing program.

Meatoga explained that the program would be unprecedented on Oahu, and remarked, “At least half of the housing in a new Laie-Malaekahana project would be affordable; this is the best option I’ve seen for local residents who work and live in our communities.”

 Conceptual Rendering of Laie-Malaekahana Housing

Artist’s conceptual rendering of Laie-Malaekahana housing

On Sunday, February 22, the Star-Advertiser reported that Councilmember Ikaika Anderson, district representative for Kaneohe-Kailua-Waimanalo, opposes plans for housing – including affordable housing – in the Laie-Malaekahana area.

 Newspaper Article re: Councilmember Anderson's Opposition

Newspaper Article re: Councilmember Anderson’s Opposition

Anderson, chair of the council’s zoning and planning committee, said that he does not support land use proposals in the City’s KSCP for housing at Malaekahana, and has reportedly introduced amendments to remove such from the City plan proposal currently before the council.

The zoning committee will hold a public hearing on the matter next week Thursday, March 5th. We will publish the time and hearing venue once it has been announced.
If you are in favor of the KSCP, which would help solve the affordable housing crisis in our communities, you can help:

1. Call and e-mail City Council members, including Ikaika Anderson, to voice your support for housing in Laie-Malaekahana. For phone numbers and e-mail addresses, click on View Councilmembers, under About The Council on their website (www.honolulu.gov/council).

2. Attend and testify at the hearing on Thursday, March 5th (more details to follow).

3. Set up a “cottage meeting” with family and friends to learn more. To do so, please contact Jane Toluono at 293-9201.

We encourage everyone to attend this hearing and participate in the democratic process – your voice and our combined support is critical to our community’s future!

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Hukilau Marketplace Celebration This Friday!

The Polynesian Cultural Center and the rest of the Envision Laie team invite you to come celebrate the opening of the new Hukilau Marketplace!

Join us this Friday from 6-10 p.m. for ‘ono food, great live entertainment, fun activities for the whole family, and special promotions and giveaways.

Among the FREE food being served from 6-7:30 p.m. are local favorites, such as beef stew and rice, manapua, pake cake and soda.

The PCC’s Hukilau Marketplace is the North Shore’s newest gathering place for good, old-fashioned family fun.

It’s also one of several exciting developments in Laie, creating more opportunities and jobs for locals.

“We are pleased to invite our community to the official open house of the Hukilau Marketplace and hope it will become a great place to hang out,” said Eric Workman, PCC’s executive vice president.

He added, “More formal celebrations will take place later this Summer with the opening of the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel, but we did not want to wait any longer to let everyone know the Marketplace is here for them.”

Be among the first to enjoy the impressive variety of special foods, goods and activities from more than 40 other dining and retail shops at the new Marketplace.

We’ll see you and your family this Friday!

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Hotel Project Update

A couple of weeks ago we announced the great news that local resident, David Betham, was hired to manage the Courtyard by Marriott hotel here in Laie. In this edition, we provide a brief update on the hotel project and feature some recent photos.

Construction of the new hotel is moving forward and is on schedule for its grand opening this Summer.

Community leaders recently took a “hard hat” tour of the hotel in progress.

Finishing work has begun on both the interior and the exterior.

Residents may have heard about the discovery on site last month of some human bone fragments (iwi kupuna). Construction workers stopped work in the area, and the project’s on-site archaeological monitor notified the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD).

SHPD staff made a site visit, as did the Ko’olauloa representative on the Oahu Island Burial Council (OIBC). Earlier this week SHPD determined that the remains should be relocated. Kumu Cy Bridges, former OIBC representative, assisted with the reburial of the individual at the Laie Cemetery, providing a dedicatory prayer and oli.

In past months other bones have been discovered on the project site, but were determined by SHPD to be animal remains.

We’ll continue to provide updates as the work moves forward.

Mahalo

 

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