Plans move forward to build homes in Koa Ridge DevelopmentUPDATED 7:05 PM HST Nov 13, 2013Video Transcript
35-hundred new homes are on the way to Central Oahu... The massive new Koa Ridge Development got the go-ahead today... Much to the dismay of people who tried to convince Honolulu to put the brakes on it ... KITV-4's Andrew Pereira joins us with the LATEST developments ALL NEW AT SIX... Andrew? Yunji, Paula... For opponents the obvious concern is traffic. But despite hours of testimony, the Council approved Koa Ridge 9 to zero. Transforming 576 acres of farm land in Central Oahu into a planned community is one thing. Transforming opponents into believers... Far less likely. LISA GRANDINETTI: "THIS ISN'T FOR US, THIS ISN'T FOR THE PEOPLE OF HAWAII. THIS IS FOR CASTLE AND COOKE AND THE PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT FROM THE MONEY THAT THEY GET FROM DEVELOPING KOA RIDGE." WENDELL FARIA: "KOA RIDGE WILL BE LESS THAN ONE-QUARTER THE SIZE OF MILILANI, BUT STILL BRING BENEFITS OF BEING A FULLY MASTER PLANNED COMMUNITY." Under the rezoning bill, Castle and Cooke will spend $100 million improving roads near Koa Ridge, while creating a new freeway interchange. The developer will also cover 90 percent of the cost of one bus pass for each Koa Ridge home. We asked Castle and Cooke's vice president of residential operations how he travels. BRUCE BARRETT: "Q- HOW DO YOU COMMUTE? DO YOU USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? NO I DON'T." Koa Ridge opponents like the Sierra Club say traffic improvement measures will only help commuters get to the H2 quicker. Then the backups will begin. ANTHONY AALTO: "SO, YOU'LL GET TO H2 FIVE MINUTES FASTER AND SPEND AND EXTRA HOUR STUCK IN TRAFFIC ON THE FREEWAY. WHERE IS THE SENSE IN THAT?" Under a unilateral agreement with the city, Castle and Cooke will classify 30 percent of the 3,500 homes at Koa Ridge affordable. Some say, under the city guidelines... The prices may still be out of reach... RON MENOR: "THEY CAN SELL A UNIT AT SAY BETWEEN $650,000 AND $700,000 AND QUALIFY THEM AS AFFORDABLE. THAT'S NOT AFFORDABLE HOUSING, THAT'S MARKET PRICE HOUSING." Castle and Cooke maintains some units will go for much less. BRUCE BARRETT: "FAMILY OF TWO, FAMILY OF FOUR IN TERMS OF A PRICE RANGE IN TODAY'S MARKET, YOU'RE IN THE $300,000 PRICE RANGE; $400,000 PRICE RANGE." Menor was by far the toughest critic of Koa Ridge, but in the end he voted for it! The rezoning bill passed 9-0. RON MENOR: "I DEFINITELY DID NOT RUBBER STAMP, I ASKED A LOT OF TOUGH QUESTIONS. 326 MY PREFERENCE WOULD'VE BEEN REALLY TO DEFER A FINAL VOTE ON THIS PROJECT." Menor was among four council members who voted "yes" with reservations. Meanwhile, Aloun Farms has secured a 10-year lease with Dole Food Company to use 335 acres of ag land that replaces the land where Koa Ridge will be built. The Sierra Club still has a legal challenge pending against the project. Yunji, Paula... back to you.