Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Grace Chapel neighbors seek restrictions

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Writer

Neighbors of Grace Chapel of Honolulu's recently purchased building on Kalaniana'ole Highway want the facility to be restricted from holding commercial weddings.


To comment

• Anyone wishing to comment on Grace Chapel's plans for the former Maunalua Bay Tennis Club should submit comments in writing by Nov. 12 at the Department of Planning and Permitting, 650 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96813, or call 527-5754.

esidents complain that their area already contains three commercial wedding chapels and, as part of the conditional-use permit the city is being asked to issue to the church, they want an assurance in writing that Grace won't become the fourth, they said at a public hearing yesterday.

The church recently purchased the 2.1-acre Maunalua Bay Tennis Club for about $5 million. It is seeking city approval to add a 1,200-square-foot meeting facility and to use the swimming pool, tennis courts and clubhouse for church activities.

Grace Chapel is a nondenominational, independently incorporated Christian church associated with the Living Word Fellowship.

Eleven people spoke in favor of the church and three were opposed to the plans during the hearing yesterday at the City Hall annex. News of the church's purchase has drawn the ire of some residents, who are already sensitive to the fact that their three-block residential area from Kirkwood Street to West Hind Drive already includes a college building, two wedding facilities and two churches.

Residents have complained about the traffic and noise related to weddings at existing businesses.

Information presented at the hearing yesterday will be forwarded to the city's director of the Department of Planning and Permitting, who will issue a decision by Dec. 9.

"We are aware of the commercial weddings around the area," said Don Clegg, a former city land use director who is serving as a consultant for the church to help process city permits. "We are here to state unequivocally that we will not be getting into the commercial wedding business now or in the future."

Pastor David Boney said church representatives have met numerous times with residents to hear their concerns. In response, the church will build a solid wall on the Koko Head side of the property to block noise from the church.

The 'Aina Haina area is perfect for the church, as the overwhelming majority of its members live in East Honolulu, Boney said.

"We need a location like this so we can have access to a major roadway," Boney said. "We anticipate being a part of the community. We ask that this permit be granted with as little restrictions as possible."

The church plans to be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays for administrative activities. Evening services will be Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. for about 40 members. On Sundays as many as 100 members of the congregation will use the church for morning services.

Resident Trudi Kiessling reminded the city that the church isn't just asking for a meeting facility, but use of the property, with its swimming pool and tennis courts.

"We're really concerned about the noise," Kiessling said. "It's a beautiful place and people won't want to just stay inside. The hours of operation should be limited for outdoor activities."

Reach Suzanne Roig at sroig@honoluluadvertiser.com or 395-8831.