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February 4, 2011

Liliuokalani trust objects to Big Isle housing project

The trust fears negative consequences from the project that could affect the existing community

Honolulu Star Advertiser
by Andrew Gomes

A planned community with 2,330 homes initiated by the state to produce work-force housing on the Big Island is generating concerns and opposition that threaten to derail the project.

The estimated $734 million master-planned community called Kamakana Villages at Keahuolu has been in the works for several years, and faces a key hearing today in Kona where the state Land Use Commission is expected to either stop or advance the project.

Developer Forest City Hawaii LLC petitioned the LUC in September to reclassify the 272-acre site near Kailua-Kona from agricultural to urban use.

But the former owner of the land has raised objections over the use of the site and whether impacts from increased traffic will sufficiently be mitigated.

The Queen Liliuokalani Trust, which sold the project site and adjacent land to the state in 1992 under threat of condemnation, has raised its objections with Hawaii County officials, in arguments before the LUC and in a lawsuit filed recently to halt LUC proceedings.

"Please do not misunderstand our intentions," LeeAnn Crabbe, trust vice president, told the Hawaii County Council in written testimony last week. "We support affordable housing and job creation in this community. What we cannot support is the promise of affordable housing and jobs at the expense to others in this community that will ultimately bear the costs."

The trust fears that Forest City won't contribute its fair share toward traffic improvements. The developer insists it will, and said it's negotiating such agreements with the county and the state Department of Transportation.

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NoLandGrab: Affordable housing and jobs? What, no hoops? Here's one thing our Hawaiian friends can take to the bank — when Forest City "insists it will" carry out some promise, you can pretty much write it off.

Posted by eric at February 4, 2011 9:29 AM