Crowded meeting addressing Haleiwa development ends abruptly, over 200 in attendance

Jade Eckardt

NORTH SHORE—A meeting regarding the proposal of an 80-unit hotel to be constructed in Haleiwa ended abruptly last night less than an hour after it began when a member of the newly formed Save Haleiwa Beach Park coalition addressed attendees out of turn. An estimated 200 residents, both in opposition and support of the hotel, which would be an exact replica of the historic Haleiwa Hotel, attended the meeting filling the John Kalili Surf Center to full capacity, leaving many community members to listen from outside the building.

The North Shore Neighborhood Board (NSNB) was holding their monthly meeting and was following the agenda, which had scheduled an informational presentation by developer Andy Anderson about the development. Anderson had presented his plan to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce board just days before, leading the Chamber Board to vote in support of the proposal.

“Our Board voted in favor of the concept. The Chamber is supporting the hotel,” said Antya Miller, chair of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce. The board of directors is made up of local business owners who are also members of the chamber.

The NSNB meeting was called to an end when Peter Cole of Save Haleiwa Beach Park Coalition stood to speak, even though the board had already called on another person to address the crowd.

Miller said that it isn’t normal protocol to end a meeting when a person speaks out of line, but that the situation had gotten out of hand so a sudden adjournment was fitting.

Opponents of the development are concerned not only with the hotel, but with the location choice as well. Anderson wants to build the hotel on what is currently City and County of Honolulu park land, bordering Jameson’s restaurant in Haleiwa that was purchased by the City and County approximately 40 years ago with the intention to expand Haleiwa regional park. The sale would turn land intended for public use to commercial property.

“We are not against the hotel, we aren’t even addressing the hotel,” Cole said last Friday. “We just don’t want public land sold to private owners for development.”

Cole said that if the park land is sold to a developer, it could set off a chain reaction resulting in other public lands being used for private development. Meeting attendees opposed to the hotel wore red shirts that read, “Public lands not for sale,” and were made specifically to oppose Anderson’s development.

According to the Sierra Club’s Oahu Group, the intended sale is “in direct contravention of an array of City and County policies and the North Shore Sustainable Communities plan.”

However, according to Miller, the hotel is in fact part of the North Shore Sustainable Plan as well as the Haleiwa Town Plan, which the Chamber designed in 1999.

“Most businesses I’ve spoken to in Haleiwa are in favor of the hotel,” said Miller, who explained that the meeting was meant to be an “information only” meeting, and that the end result was inappropriate. “There will most likely be another meeting regarding the hotel. It will be in a better meeting place, and better controlled,” she added.

According to the Chamber’s website, the original Haleiwa hotel was built in 1898 and was Hawaii’s finest hotel at the time. The hotel became popular with the “city affluent” who weekended in Haleiwa. At the turn of the century, a round-trip, two-day excursion by train from Honolulu to Haleiwa, around Kaena Point cost $10 including an overnight stay at the hotel. The hotel was located where Haleiwa Joe’s sits today.