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A BILL FOR AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 21, REVISED ORDINANCES
OF HONOLULU 1990, AS AMENDED (THE LAND USE ORDINANCE), RELATING
TO THE CHINATOWN SPECIAL DISTRICT.
BE IT ORDAINED by the People of the City and County of Honolulu:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this ordinance is to expand the boundary of
the Chinatown special district and reduce the height limits within the expansion area.
The mauka and makai precincts of the district are being expanded to include
certain parcels of land located west of the existing district boundary. Existing height
limits are being reduced from 25 to 0 feet, from 150 to 80
feet, and from 200 to 80 feet.
This ordinance also amends certain provisions to encourage additional types of residential development
by allowing one-family and two-family dwellings within the Historic Core precinct. The expansion
of the district boundary is intended to preserve and enhance the gateway to
the Chinatown special district by applying certain district regulations to lots which, if
developed to the underlying zoning district standards, may have an adverse affect upon
the district. Miscellaneous amendments intended to clarify these new objectives throughout the Chinatown
special district provisions are included.
SECTION 2. Sections 21-9.60-1, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as amended, is amended to
read as follows:
(a) Help promote the longterm economic viability of the Chinatown district as a unique
community of retail, office and residential uses.
(b) Retain the lowrise urban form and character of the historic interior core of
Chinatown while allowing for moderate redevelopment at the mauka and makai edges of
(c) Retain and enhance pedestrianoriented commercial uses and building design, particularly on the ground
(e) Improve traffic circulation with emphasis on pedestrian linkages within and connecting outside Chinatown.
(f) Retain makai view corridors as a visual means of maintaining the historic link
between Chinatown and the harbor.
(g) Retain the visual link from Aala Park to Chinatown.
[(h)] (i) Encourage outdoor lighting for the purpose of contributing to a lively, friendly,
and safe urban environment."
"(b) [Create] Preserve the views to Chinatown and create a transition between the highrise
Kukui Urban Renewal district and the lowrise historic core of Chinatown."
SECTION 4. Section 21-9.60-8, ("Historic core precinct objectives") Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990,
as amended, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
(1) Within the mauka precincts, height limits are identified on Exhibit 21-9.9, set out
at the end of this article.
(2) To minimize the visual intrusion of towers on Chinatown streetscapes, the following height setback shall apply to any portion of a building over 40 feet in height: Each foot of additional height shall be set back one foot from every front property line for the first 40 feet measured horizontally across the lot (refer to sketch on Exhibit 21-9.9, set out at the end of this article).
(3) The director may grant exceptions to special district height limits, not to exceed the height regulations for the underlying zoning district, if the applicant can demonstrate the following:
(A) That the proposed construction would not substantially diminish any views from any of the prominent public vantage points described for the special district; or
(B) That the extra height is necessary to achieve some significant public objective. Such demonstrations shall include:
(i) Information which provides a basis for the objective in terms of a public need or problem;
(ii) Other reasonable alternatives to achieve the objective; and
(iii) An appropriate analysis of the alternatives which indicate that the proposed construction is the most beneficial to the public's interest. "
SECTION 5. Section 21-9.60-8, ("Historic core precinct objectives") Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as amended, is amended by adding a subsection (d) to read as follows:
"(d) Encourage one- and two-family dwelling use to provide a variety of compatible uses
which would contribute to the precincts social and economic vitality."
" Sec. 21-9.609 Historic core precinct development standards.
Within the historic core precinct, new structures shall not exceed 40 feet.
(b) Open Space and Landscaping.
(1) Open space is encouraged in the form of small-scaled interior landscaped courtyards and
interior pedestrian walkways.
(2) Street trees shall not be required. Any trees planted within a front yard
or sidewalk area shall take into consideration the objectives of the precinct, especially
the desire for continuous building frontages and sidewalk canopies, as well as traffic
and pedestrian safety.
(3) Along Hotel Street, street trees may complement its strong retail character and public
transit corridor function. They shall be a minimum of twoinch caliper. Species and
spacing shall be chosen from an approved tree list on file with the
department and the department of parks and recreation.
(c) Required Yards.
(1) There shall be no required yards.
(2) All buildings on the same block face shall form a continuous street facade, except for necessary driveways, pedestrian entryways and small open space pockets.
(d) Permitted Uses. Ground floor spaces should be used exclusively for retail commercial uses,
or light food manufacturing of an ethnic nature such as noodlemaking, compatible with
the objectives for Chinatown. One- and two-family dwellings are permitted, if located above
the ground floor.
(f) Design Guidelines. All street facades shall meet the requirements of Section 21-9.60-12, street
SECTION 7. Section 21-9.60-10, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as amended, is amended
to read as follows:
" Sec. 21-9.60-10 Makai precinct objectives.
(a) Provide for expansion of housing and office development from the central business district,
compatible with the overall revitalization of Chinatown, including an active retailoriented ground level
and distinctive facade treatments.
(b) Create a transition between the highrise central business district and the historic core
(c) Preserve and enhance the entry into the historic core of Chinatown along King
Street and Nimitz Highway.
[(c)] (d) Provide a visible connection between Aala Park and the interior of Chinatown
and Nimitz Highway and the interior of Chinatown.
[(d)] (e) Develop a continuous street landscaping theme along Nimitz Highway to emphasize its
role as a major access way into the central business district and Waikiki.
SECTION 8. Section 21-9.60-11, ("Makai precinct development standards") Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990,
as amended, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
"(b) Open Space and Landscaping.
(1) Where there are lowlevel rooftops, roof gardens should be provided. Otherwise, open space
shall be provided in the form of landscaped front yards along Nimitz Highway.
Landscaped interior courts are also encouraged.
(2) [With the exception of Nimitz Highway, street trees shall not be required.] Street
trees should be provided, as needed, to complement adjoining development and minimize the
intrusion of towers on Chinatown street scenes. Tree specie, spacing and size shall
be in accordance with the Citys tree planting standards or as approved by
the director. Any proposals for trees within a front yard or sidewalk shall
take into consideration the objectives of the district, including the provisions of sidewalk
canopies, a strong continuous street frontage and traffic safety.
SECTION 9. Exhibit 21-9.9, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as amended,
is being repealed in its entirety and replaced as follows:
SECTION 10. Exhibit 21-9.10, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as
amended, is being repealed in its entirety and replaced as follows:
SECTION 11. Exhibit 21-9.10-A, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as
amended, is amended to read as follows:
" EXHIBIT 21-9.10-A
CHINATOWN SPECIAL DISTRICT HISTORIC AND ARCHITECTURALLY SIGNIFICANT SITES [STRUCTURES]
1In the event the listed addresses are not consistent with the tax map keys or building names, the tax map keys and building names shall prevail."
SECTION 12. Ordinance material to be repealed is bracketed, and new material is
underscored. When revising, compiling, or printing this ordinance for inclusion in the Revised
Ordinances of Honolulu, the revisor of ordinances need not include the brackets, bracketed
material, or the underscoring.
SECTION 13. This ordinance shall take effect upon its approval.
DATE OF INTRODUCTION:
APPROVED AS TO FORM AND LEGALITY:
APPROVED this ______ day of ________________,200__.