LAIE—The Koolau Loa Neighborhood Board’s majority decision to support the proposed Envision Laie project on July 30, 2009 is null and void, according to the Neighborhood Commission—the governing body that reinforces board laws and protocols.
The Envision Laie development, which is supported by Brigham Young University, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Hawaii Reserves Inc. (HRI), is looking to build 1,260 new residential dwellings as well as large shopping centers and other developments on agricultural zoned land in the currently natural and undisturbed Gunstock Ranch area.
North Shore residents in opposition to the plans feel that the development would hurt the community and cause future deterioration of the quality of life in the area. The Defend Oahu Coalition stated on their website that Envision Laie “threatens communities along Koolau Loa and the North Shore with the dangerous effects of large scale development.” Residents also say the development will displace both agricultural and kuleana lands and, most likely, widen the famously narrow and winding Kamehameha Highway.
It’s estimated that if the proposed development is successful, with household sizes staying the same, the Laie area population of not quite 5,000 would more than double to over 10,000.
On Tuesday, the commission ruled that the Koolau Loa Neighborhood Board, on the day it voted to support Envision Laie, unintentionally violated Hawaii Sushine Laws by not allowing everyone the chance to testify at the special meeting. Junior Primacio and Richard Fale were the board chairs in charge that day in 2009.
Other infractions, which the commission labeled as “serious and deleterious to the neighborhood board system,” included the use of sign-up sheets that were removed either before or during the meeting and the non-consideration of written testimony before the board took its 7-to-4 in favor vote.
In addition to receiving a letter of reprimand, the Koolau Loa Neighborhood Board, if it wishes to take a stand on the project, must schedule another meeting and allow all written and oral testimony to be received, reviewed, and considered before taking a vote.
Koolau Loa resident William Racoma filed the complaint with the commission on August 5, 2009, and the special hearing was held on November 22, 2010 at Honolulu Hale.
For a copy of the ruling, go here and click on “Racoma vs. Koolauloa NB No. 28.”