A tentative settlement between the state and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is headed for a floor vote next week.
"This was a big hurdle. As you know. this was the single vehicle, so we have come through quite a lot," said Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Collette Machado.
Two powerful Senate committees approved a bill settling outstanding claims over former crown lands. OHA called it a momentous opportunity for Hawaiians to move forward. The tentative settlement provides 30 acres in Kakaako as a land base for Hawaiians to settle claims over a 34-year period.
Some Native Hawaiians believe it's not enough.
"It's not a fair settlement. They say it?s worth $200 million. A lot of people think it?s worth $50 million," said Kealii Makekau, a candidate for an OHA at-large seat.
Even though the Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees advanced the bill, there were reservations.
?It falls short. This isn?t a final a settlement and anyone who thinks it is, is wrong,? said Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Lawmakers Thursday advanced a separate bill to allow OHA to develop residential units on two of the ten parcels, even though state law prevents housing units on the makai side of Kakaako.
OHA clarified the idea would involve affordable rental housing for Oahu's workforce, not luxury condominiums.
"We could go up to 200 feet, and we are looking at residential as an opportunity as a home base for our people. We are talking rentals, not condos because we will not sell the ceded lands," said Machado.