For the first time in it's history, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs could be selling off ceded lands.
The City and County of Honolulu wants to build a much needed sewer station on some of OHA's property in Kaka'ako Makai. The city's eying a 3.3 acre lot near Ala Moana Boulevard and Keawe Street. The undeveloped parcel is currently being leased for parking and is valued at around $29 million.
Department of Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina says it's an ideal spot to handle sewage from all the new development in the area.
"We've allowed as much as we can to this point to connect if we have another huge development come in... I don't know if we can," Kahikina said.
Two other stations near Keawe Street already exist in lots next to the property. The city says the proposed station could also be a critical component to avoiding storm water runoff after heavy rains.
OHA beneficiary Landen Paikai is on board with the proposed sale.
"We have to do it. I hate to say it, I really hate to say it but it's the hand that we've been dealt and we need to play it smart," said Paikai.
But not everyone agrees.
With high-rises sprouting up all over Kaka'ako, Nanakuli homesteader Germaine Meyers wants to know why Native Hawaiian housing isn't being considered.
"There's no negotiating team to rezone that would allow us to have high-rises for our people, for our needs. Those of us that are in the country and would like to be urbanized," Meyers exclaimed.
Several years ago lawmakers banned development projects makai of Ala Moana Boulevard. OHA has been unable to change that law.
OHA approved a motion to start negotiations Wednesday. But not without some reservations
"So we can't do anything with the land? But we have to just sell it right now? Why can't we just talk about it...invest into infrastructure assets. It doesn't generate a lot but its perpetual assets that can be very useful for our beneficiaries," OHA trustee Dan Ahuna said.
Negotiations would still need to be approved by state lawmakers.
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