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MAYOR HANNEMANN DETAILS PLAN TO SAVE KUNIA PLANTATION VILLAGE

 

Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced an important new plan to preserve the historic nature of Kunia Plantation Village and the 115 homes rented mostly by former pineapple workers.

 

The plan calls for the James Campbell Company to transfer the 119-acre village to the nonprofit Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) for $1.00 (one dollar). HARC would maintain in perpetuity the plantation homes as affordable rentals for agricultural workers and retirees, preserving the village’s historic character.

 

The City was instrumental in developing this plan by bringing the parties together, supporting an affordable housing proposal by the Campbell Company and facilitating subdivision approval, and now will assist HARC with a zoning variance to preserve the current uses and structures in the village.

 

“When finalized, this agreement should bring peace of mind to Del Monte retirees living in Kunia Village,” said Mayor Hannemann. “The City has been working closely with the Campbell Company and ILWU since Del Monte announced the closure of its operations in Hawaii in 2006. I am pleased that we are able to preserve a significant part of our island history and support our vital agriculture industry. This is the type of public-private partnership that our administration prides itself on. I’m hopeful that the Planning Commission and City Council will recognize the merit of this important plan and approve it.”

 

One of the many challenges in preserving Kunia Plantation Village was the high cost of upgrading the fire safety infrastructure to bring the village up to current standards. To facilitate the solution, the City is supporting the Campbell Company’s proposal to count these 115 homes toward the total 1,230-unit affordable housing requirement for its Makaiwa Hills residential development, which is currently going through the zoning process. While the credits represent only a small portion of the affordable housing requirement, the Campbell Company will carry the entire cost for the fire system infrastructure upgrade, totaling approximately $1 million.

 

“This agreement would not have been possible without the Mayor’s leadership and support,” said Campbell Company CEO Steve MacMillan. “It is certainly a daunting task but we believe this is the most affordable and seamless way to help the residents of Kunia Village.”

 

HARC President Stephanie Whalen said she looks forward to the agreement’s final approval.

 

“We’re very pleased that this affordable rental housing will be maintained for agricultural workers, and we appreciate Mayor Hannemann’s help in reaching a solution that works well for everyone involved,” said Whalen. “This agreement will also protect the village’s historic rural Oahu character.”

 

ILWU Local 142 President Fred Galdones said the union has been very concerned about the future of the village’s residents since Del Monte announced the end of its pineapple operations here. “These families have worked long and hard, and they truly deserve the housing security this agreement will help provide,” said Galdones.

 

            Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation President Dean Okimoto said he greatly appreciated the concern for the workers’ future. “Mayor Hannemann has been very supportive of the agriculture industry and the people it depends on,” Okimoto said “He truly understands our needs and our concerns. We’re also very grateful to HARC for stepping up to the plate. There is a critical need for workforce housing and facilities to process agricultural products.”

 

Mayor Hannemann stressed that, in addition to preserving Kunia Village, the proposed zoning of Makaiwa Hills, Kapolei West and Kapolei Harborside includes a generous and comprehensive community benefit package for the City Council’s consideration that includes:

 

­         Government Facilities – 16 acres of land in the City of Kapolei will be dedicated to the City for government purposes and to accommodate the future mass transit alignment (see attached map). The intent is to offset the impact of the residential projects on public facilities and transportation facilities in the region.

 

­         Mass Transit – In addition to land provided in the City of Kapolei to accommodate the future transit alignment, areas in Kapolei West and Kapolei Harborside surrounding a proposed transit center will be planned as “transit-ready” to allow for compatible development.

 

­         Roads – A West Kapolei Roads Master Plan will be developed to provide for the timely construction of roadways to improve access within and around the projects, the City of Kapolei and the Kapolei industrial areas.

 

­         Day Care Facilities – Two acres of land will be provided for day care facilities in cooperation with the City’s Department of Community Services.

 

­         Affordable Housing – In addition to Kunia Plantation Village, approximately 1,950 affordable housing units will be built: 1230 in Makaiwa Hills and 720 in Kapolei West.

 

­         Fire Station – 1.5 acres of land will be provided for a fire station in Makaiwa Hills.

 

            The projects provide for 7,500 jobs and contribute to the creation of the projected 40,000 new jobs in the Ewa region by 2025. This economic activity in the region is expected to reach $90 billion by 2025.

 

 

Contact: Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

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