Blog: ‘Stairway to Heaven’ still hell for some, Envision Laie talking points shared

Samson Kaala Reiny

The Heights We’ll Go
with Samson Reiny

For Koolau Poko residents whose attention to civic engagement has been curtailed by last minute holiday shopping and other assorted end-of-the-year craziness, here’s a quick highlight of last night’s neighborhood board meeting.

Douglas Dykstra, chancellor of Windward Community College (WCC), noted that the school is graduating its first class of 14 licensed practical nurses—and with another 20 set to graduate next semester. The graduates are now qualified to take the LPN licensure exam. For only three additional semesters of study, they become registered nurses. And as a side note, due to budget cuts, WCC—along with the other University of Hawaii campuses, will be closed from December 17 to January 3.

A representative from the Kaneohe Marine Base, for his report, noted that Toys for Tots is still short 8,000 toys, particularly the kinds for older children. The base is also hosting a New Year’s Eve event. If interested in purchasing tickets, call Maggie Gaukler at (808) 257-8863.

If you haven’t received your property tax assessments yet, it’s coming in the mail real soon, according to City Councilman Ikaika Anderson. Keep in mind that it’s not a tax bill, it’s just the assessment of your property’s value. But the city will use that number in conjunction with the forthcoming tax rate (to be set by the council in June 2011) to determine your real property tax. You have until January 15 to appeal the assessment.

As to where Anderson stands on the purported buzz in city circles increasing the tax rate? Because he has yet to see the Carlisle administration’s budget proposal, it’s hard for him to say much. But, as much as possible, he’d like to keep last year’s residential rate of $3.42 per every $1,000 of taxable property.

In residential concerns, a man who lives in Haiku, near the currently closed “Stairway to Heaven,” says that hikers who illegally traverse up the mountain are a nuisance. He reports, along with many of his neighbors, of not being able to sleep past 4:30 a.m. because of all the early morning vehicular and foot traffic in the area. The security guard, he notes, is ineffective because he starts at eight in the morning, and he himself also makes a lot of noise. The resident suggested removing part of the stairs to make the trek inaccessible to hikers while the City and State figure out what to do.

Neighborhood board chair Roy Yanagihara responded by saying the problem has been an issue for many years, and there is no easy solution short of possible State legislation. He did suggest, though, that the resident join the board’s planning committee to work on drafting some recommendations to the appropriate agencies. The committee will be meeting on January 5.

Lastly, Creighton Mattoon and Dee Dee Letts, residents of the Koolau Loa region, gave a presentation in opposition to the proposed Envision Laie development. One of their arguments is that if the City approves of Envision Laie by ratifying the current draft of the Sustainable Communities Plan, traffic congestion would likely increase in the Koolau Poko region. For two different opinions on the issue, click here. For a dated but still relevant overview of the controversy, click here. And take note of what resulted in regards to the Koolau Loa Neighborhood Board’s decision to support the project last year.