The vote was 8-1, with the only dissenting vote from Commissioner Jaye Napua Makua.
However, opponents of the project promise to continue their fight in court, arguing it's critical to protect one of the most fertile parcels of ag land in the state.
"I really haven't thought through that part yet," said Kioni Dudley, who along with the Sierra Club and state Sen. Clayton Hee is trying to stop the D.R. Horton project. "Will we take it to court," Dudley paused. "I'm sure that we will, yes."
Opponents are relying on a section of the Hawai'i Constitution that reads "The state "shall conserve and protect agricultural lands."
"If you abide by the Hawai'i Constitution and follow the criteria you're obligated to consider, you have no choice but to deny the petition," said Elizabeth Dunne, the Sierra Club's lead attorney.
Michael Jones, president of D.R. Horton–Schuler Division, said he hopes to begin building homes at the site within two to three years. The project still faces a lengthy permitting process before the Honolulu City Council as well as the city's Planning Commission.
"Typically, it can take a year, year-and-a-half, but that's just a rough estimate right now," said Jones. "We just look forward to moving forward, working with the community, working with state, working the city (and) working with the intervenors."
The LUC attached conditions to the project in giving its approval, the most important, how D.R. Horton plans to ease congestion on an already overcrowded H1 Freeway.
Ho'opili developers are required to conduct a new Traffic Impact Analysis Report, or TIAR. Part of the report must explain how traffic will be eased should the city's $5.3 billion elevated rail project not move forward. The housing development must also come up with a viable civil defense plan that's approved by both the county and state.
"They're all very good conditions," said Jones. "We've already started to work on a new TIAR because we knew we had to get one updated before we went back in the city and county zoning."
Ho'opili opponents claim the development will also strain the island's water supply, but supporters point to the Board of Water Supply's support for the project.
City attorney Don Kitaoka said the project fits the city;s plans for development.
"It's consistent with the city's general plan, it's consistent with the Ewa development plan, and consistent with the urban growth boundary found in the development plan," said Kitaoka
Back in March, two former governors appeared before the land commission. John Waihe'e and Ben Cayetano urged the commission not to reclassify the prime agricultural lands.
They said the 1,500 acres in Ewa is the most productive farm land on O'ahu.
"What we were trying to do 20 years ago exists on the Ewa plain," said Waihe'e. "So, it makes very little sense in my mind to urbanize that area."
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration, which is pushing food sustainability and safety, supports the Ho'opili project.
Abercrombie said he's focused on the big picture of encouraging 21st century farming now that the plantation era is over.
Supporters of Ho'opili say the project integrates small farms as well as home and community gardens.