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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 4, 2006

Kaka'ako setback may work out in long run

The Legislature's decision to pull the plug on a proposed redevelopment of an ocean-side parcel in Kaka'ako that would have included two high-rise apartments may indeed be a good expression of the public will.

But who knows?

The bill to block a proposed development plan was based on the emotional and apparently convincing testimony of a group of citizens who believe the plan was not the best use of this prime parcel of oceanfront land. Others, less heard from, supported the project.

The Legislature's move to override a decision made by the Hawai'i Community Development Authority an agency it established creates a worrisome environment for future planned public/private development projects in Hawai'i.

Still, Gov. Linda Lingle, who supports the development plan, would be wise not to veto the bill.

The HCDA has already signaled it will convene a new community advisory committee, to include opponents of the current plan, that will guide development of the area.

This makes sense because rightly or wrongly the public felt left out of the process that led to the current plan.

The upshot of all this will be that any development of this valuable chunk of public land will be delayed for at least another year or so. That may be a small price to pay if the eventual decision is one that truly honors the public interest and makes the best use of valuable public property.