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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Housing near Velzyland approved

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer

The City Council yesterday cleared the way for a gated residential development near the world-famous Velzyland surf spot on the North Shore, granting a special management area use permit for Kaunala Beach Estate.

The council disagreed with a state recommendation that the standard 60-foot setback be changed to more than 80 feet.

"The applicant hasn't adequately dealt with the erosion of the North Shore in the near term or in the long term," said Sam Lemmo, state Department of Land and Natural Resources Coastal Lands Program manager.

"Much of the island of O'ahu is hardened by sea walls because of erosion," Lemmo said. "The problem isn't sea walls or erosion, it's where the homes are."

Developer D.G. "Andy" Anderson, a longtime Hawai'i political figure, argued the project wouldn't be cost-effective with an 80-foot setback and the city would be better off buying the 17 acres for a park. That is what Sunset Beach residents wanted and had expected, because the site had been earmarked for a park. But the city decided it didn't have the money to buy the land.

Many residents opposed the Kaunala project, fearing that access to the shoreline would be restricted. More than 70 area residents opposed the project at a public hearing in June.

Others supported the project because they said the area is run-down and is a known hangout for drug users.

The project, located about a half-mile northeast of Sunset Beach Park, will include 29 single-family homes, a private road, a parcel to be dedicated to the city for park use and a separate public pedestrian shoreline-access easement.

To make way for the development, about 100 people were evicted from homes and apartments on the property. One resident called them the last of the affordable rental homes on the North Shore.