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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Gentry seeks re-zoning in 'Ewa

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Central O'ahu Writer

'EWA — Developer Gentry Homes Ltd. plans to seek rezoning of 283 acres of agricultural land for a new 'Ewa Makai residential and commercial development.

The proposed development would have a total of 1,865 single- and mixed-family housing units, according to Debra Luning, Gentry's director of government relations and community affairs.

Last week, the 'Ewa Neighborhood Board voted 5-2, with one abstention, in support of the rezoning request, but the proposal generated considerable debate in an area already struggling with traffic congestion. Some residents at the meeting were concerned that homes were coming in faster than roads needed to carry commuters out of the area.

'Ewa board chairman Jeff Alexander voted against the measure, saying, "There's enough overdevelopment even before this project comes in."

Alexander said another stoplight probably would be needed along Fort Weaver Road at the entrance of the 'Ewa Makai development, further backing up traffic from 'Ewa Beach.

But the board's Planning and Zoning Committee chairwoman, Tesha Malama, said she supported the rezoning because it would help build a second access road out of 'Ewa eventually.

"If it helps us get the (state's planned) north-south road built, that's fine," Malama said, referring to a proposed second road out of 'Ewa tentatively set to begin construction in 2004.

The 'Ewa Makai development, just south of the Ewa-by-Gentry subdivision and next to the Hawai'i Prince Golf Course, would bring the number of Gentry homes in the 'Ewa region to 7,100. The new development includes 189 acres for housing, an 18-acre middle school campus, 50 acres for commercial and industrial use, 25.5 acres for parks and open space, and six acres for two churches and a recreation center.

Gentry plans to apply with the state Land Use Commission next month to redesignate the agricultural property for urban use. The company also is preparing a rezoning application for the city Department of Planning and Permitting in June.

If the city rezoning goes smoothly, public hearings could be held on the request as early as July, followed by a city Planning Commission hearing in October.

After that advisory group makes a recommendation, the measure could be introduced to the City Council early next year. Campbell Estate owns the land and awarded the development rights to Gentry.

The 'Ewa Neighborhood Board recently voted in support of a building moratorium to protest increasing traffic congestion along Fort Weaver Road, the only main access out of 'Ewa to the H-1 Freeway.

It later rescinded the moratorium request after the city and area developers committed to a construction timetable to help build a second access road out of the area.

Luning said the rezoning would allow Gentry to build its section of Kapolei Parkway to connect with the state's planned north-south road, which would run to the H-1 Freeway near Kapolei. She added that the total number of Gentry homes in 'Ewa is down from the 8,300 units originally planned.

Some residents still were not convinced.

"I have three concerns: traffic, dust from the construction and property values," said Thomas Hoxie, an Ewa-by-Gentry resident since 1993.

"Gentry told me when I first moved in that they had no plans for the area behind my house. I don't know if having a high-rise now at the back of my home is going to help my property value."

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Reach Scott Ishikawa at sishikawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2429.