Lawmakers are considering a plan to exempt two lots from a law prohibiting residental development on the makai side of Kakaako.
Six years ago, community groups rallied to block the sale of public land for a luxury residential waterfront development in Kakaako.
Leaders of that movement returned to the state capitol Wednesday, wary of a move they fear could undermine their work to keep the makai lands open for public use.
"I call it a people movement to save our Kakaako. We were the ones in red shirts standing on the streets, marching to the capitol," said Ron Iwami, of the non-profit group, Friends of Kakaako.
The grassroots effort led to legislation many believed ended their fight, or so some thought.
Current law prevents residential development on the makai side of Ala Moana Boulevard. But lawmakers gutted a bill and inserted new language which would allow for a residential high-rise on two parcels.
Chairs of a joint Committee of Judiciary and Water and Land were clear, the move was to try and help negotiate a better deal for Native Hawaiians.
"I feel out of respect for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs representing the sovereign entity of the Hawaiian people, they should be given all of their options. It should be restored," said Sen. Malama Solomon, chairwoman of the Land, Water and Hawaiian Affairs Committee.
Solomon said the idea is that it would be left up to OHA trustees to decide to exercise the residential option.
"Why isn?t OHA's name in this bill? As it stands, anyone could develop those two lots," said Wayne Takamine, of the Kakaako Advisory Council.