Kaka’ako community group urges HCDA overhaul
Kakaʽako Ūnited has sent a letter to the gubernatorial candidates asking that the next Governor of Hawaiʻi change the way HCDA does business.
A new non-profit, established in September, 2014, has sent a letter to the four gubernatorial candidates asking that—whichever one of them wins the general election in November—he overhaul the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) board and end fast tracking of development and permitting.
Kakaʽako Ūnited, which includes an interesting mix of community leaders from organizations such as the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Surfrider Foundation, the American Institute of Architecture and Common Cause Hawai‘i, along with concerned neighborhood residents, is “a non-profit organization established to ensure the quality of life for an integrated Kakaʽako community from mauka to makai.”
Dear Gubernatorial Candidates Duke Aiona, Jeff Davis, Mufi Hannemann, and David Ige,
We, the undersigned, applaud your commitment to quality development in Kaka‘ako and therefore request your immediate attention to appointing Hawai‘i Community Development Authority members who will follow the law, plans and rules governing Kaka‘ako.
You have made strong statements of commitment to build Kaka‘ako according to established plan. We would endorse the position to transfer planning and permitting Kaka‘ako’s development to the city so that city legal standards and established rules are met, which include: 1) demonstrated hardship to justify any variances from plans and rules; 2) provision of legally-required affordable housing below 120% of area median income, and 3) developer impact fees to pay for needed infrastructure, e.g. reliable sewer system, new local schools, neighborhood parks, and expanded green public recreational open space.
An October 10 Star Advertiser editorial highlighted that HCDA is entertaining a proposal by the Howard Hughes Corporation to reduce the two-month time required for community input on their development by moving forward its decision-making hearing, scheduled for December 3, to November 19. Why the rush? We believe it’s because the HCDA board will no longer be able to deliver the current governor’s agenda to approve developers’ variances and modifications, permits, and contracts after December 1, the date when the new governor is sworn into office.
The next governor will have the opportunity to control presently fast-tracked Kaka’ako permits and contracts from December 1 forward, when the HCDA board’s four ex-officio department heads leave with Governor Abercrombie. There is also a cultural specialist vacancy on the HCDA board that is required to be filled. The remainder of the nine-member board is comprised of four holdover non ex-officio members who will see their terms expire the end of February, 2015, as a result of Act 61, passed by this year’s legislature.
According to legislative staff attorneys, Article V, Section 6 of our constitution authorizes department heads to hold office until the term for which the governor was elected ends. Article V, Section 1, states that the governor’s term ends at noon on the first Monday in December. Thus when the present governor’s term ends at noon on December 1, so, too, will the terms of HCDA’s ex-officio department heads (Article V, Section 6, 26-34(a)). Specifically, cabinet members do not continue serving in their positions until a new director is appointed; their terms end with the governor’s. Instead of holding over existing directors, the new governor should name his own cabinet upon being elected, or make his own interim appointments to HCDA. In fact, the statute requires the Governor to designate an officer or employee of the State to perform the duties of the vacant office until the office is filled (with an appointment or nominee).
We, the undersigned, therefore request that you respond to the interested and affected community that cares about the future of Kaka‘ako, and has been asking for recognition and change, by making one of your first actions to seek resignations from the present department head members on HCDA’s board. Even if replacements have not yet been contemplated, we urge interim appointments to ensure that the current department directors, or their designees, do not continue to represent the outgoing governor’s agenda, which has been contrary to existing law, plans, and rules.
Mahalo and Aloha,
Sharon Moriwaki, Kaka‘ako Ūnited
Wayne Takamine, Kaka‘ako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council (CPAC)
Michael M. Kliks, Hui O Mālama Kaka‘ako Makai and CTS Foundation
Kanekoa K.C. Crabbe, Mālama Point Panic
Scot Brower, Royal Capitol Plaza AOAO
Marvin Heskett, Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter
Stuart Coleman, Surfrider Foundation Hawaii Chapters
Wil Okabe, Hawaii State Teachers Association
Carmille Lim, Common Cause Hawai‘i
John Shockley, Free Access Coalition
Al Frenzel, Mālama Makaha
Bob Crone, Architect/Planner, American Institute of Architecture(AIA)
Linda Wong, Concerned Citizen and Former Chair, Neighborhood Board 5 (Diamond Head, Kapahulu, St. Louis Heights)