Monday, June 21, 2010


COME AND GET IT: The current crop of council incumbents has been accused of being a do-nothing body what with dog paths and the old boys’ sniping at insurgencies dominating the debates.

But an examination of the record shows that they actually been very busy- undoing whatever crumbs recent councils have thrown us.

One example is the effort in recent months to undo a decade of work to end the circus going on at Spouting Horn that succeeded via a sunset ordinance that passed a few years back.

The Po`ipu sale-a-thon that has evolved since the 70’s when the county allowed a few puka-shell-lei makers to sell their wares, had been given due notice for many years that the party was ending and local people were going to get their park back and a sunset date was as carved in stone as any council action can be,

But all of a sudden, as the deadline approached the crocodile tears of the vendors over losing their lucrative lair of lucre convinced the all-too-gullible council to just say damn it all and make the loss of the park permanent.

Then there’s the pending bill to gut the “vacation rental in non visitor destination areas” sunset ordinance. Despite a year’s work to close all the loopholes the current bill would chuck them out the window leaving enforcement- which was already difficult due to planning department indifference (or worse, complicity with owners)- an impossibility.

There’s also the “Ako” parcel in Waimea which was just granted residential rezoning despite the fact that the neighboring residents had successfully fought the rezoning for many years because the parcel acts as a flood plane and because it had been designated for a future park.

But last Wednesday one of the most insidious bills to undo past efforts came to council’s planning committee in the form of a measure that would chuck a key element of the givebacks that were included in the Kukui`ula development rezoning passed the council a few years back

Despite the quote in today’s paper’s promotional piece- disguised as a real new article by Coo-Coo Slickos- from A&B Properties Executive Vice President Paul Hallin that “(f)or those of you who want to become a developer, I want to share my pain with you”, it apparently will be a little less painful when a measure to remove a provision to insure perpetual affordability of the “workforce housing” required in exchange for the zoning passes the council a few weeks from now.

A&B’s development effort goes back to the 80’s and was universally opposed like no other before or since. But when one of it’s chief opponents who had led the effort to stop it for many years- former Mayor and at the time former councilperson JoAnn Yukimura- came back to the council to the chagrin of many she actually led the bill through the planning committee she chaired at the time.

She says she didn’t see a way to stop it because the votes were there for rezoning to cut the density by about half which actually changed the development from one designed to provide housing affordable by local people to a high priced one affordable only by mainland transplants.

So she instead got the developer to agree to many conditions and givebacks to the community, one of which was a scheme for workforce housing that, among other conditions, called for a 90 year buyback clause whereby the developer would have to buyback the houses at the original price plus inflation from anyone selling and the re-sell it to others whose median income qualified them for the housing.

But now the developer is proposing- and the council is apparently going to give them according to those who spoke at last Wednesday’s meeting- to change it to a 20-year buy-back meaning that after 20 years the housing will revert back to “market price”.

Not only that but, although it isn’t in the current version of the bill, they are asking that the responsibility for the buyback be transferred to the county- a huge expense that the county will certainly not be able to afford.

So get it while you can all you fat cat land rapers. This council will apparently respond to any request for them to bend over only by asking how far.

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