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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Not all see Kahuku home-purchase plan as 'win-win'

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

KAHUKU Many Kahuku residents were receptive to a prospective developer's proposal yesterday to allow them to buy their affordable rental homes, easing fears that they may lose their homes from the anticipated sale of 1,800 acres by Campbell Estate.

But some also said they oppose the developer's wish to build 18 beachfront homes, with just two public beach access routes, as part of the deal.

More than 100 Kahuku residents attended a meeting yesterday at Kahuku High & Intermediate School, where Mayor Mufi Hannemann introduced Florida-based Continental Pacific LLC and its development proposal for Kahuku Village Phase V, owned by Campbell Estate.

Developers Jeremiah Henderson and Eric Morrison described a plan that would allow the 70 families living on the 200-acre parcel to buy their homes and 5,000-square-foot lots in fee simple for an average of $75,000.

The cost includes road improvements by Continental Pacific and the installation of sprinkler systems in the homes to bring them up to fire codes, Morrison said.

"My house, that's my concern," said Angel Adversalo, 83, a longtime Kahuku Village resident. "As long as we can stay there, I'm good. I feel happy."

Campbell Estate is also on board with Continental Pacific's proposal, Hannemann said.

"We're supportive of the mayor's efforts and we're hopeful that it would lead to a win-win for everyone involved," said Theresia McMurdo, spokeswoman for Campbell Estate.

The development proposal also includes selling the nine-hole Kahuku golf course to the community. The proposal took into account the residents' desire to keep the golf course, their homes and the oceanfront, Henderson said.

"(But) if they got all those, we'd have nothing left," Henderson said. "So we said we have to get something out of this thing to get our cost, plus our development cost back."

Morrison said the key to make the plan work is the development of the 18 market-priced homes on or near the beachfront.

"That's how we're going to subsidize everything," Morrison said.

DIFFERING VIEWPOINTS

Residents concerned about keeping "country country" were against the idea.

"We're not going to block up that beachfront, no way," said Margaret Primacio, one of the vice presidents of Kahuku Village Association Inc. "There's no way we're going to sell out for that."

Primacio and more than a dozen others in attendance wore bright red shirts with the slogan, "Keep Kahuku Country."

But Phase V resident Sherry Martinez said she is satisfied with the proposal. Martinez, a former KVA board director, has seen several development plans in the past and said yesterday's proposal was "the best one I've seen."

"It's a give-and-take," Martinez said. " ... We could lose the entire beachfront. We could lose everything, but we're not."

Noreen Cristobal, president of KVA, said the next step is for community leaders to meet and discuss the proposal, which will likely be this week.

After meeting with Kahuku residents to go over their reactions possibly in two weeks Cristobal said she hopes to meet once again with the developers to discuss their ideas and concerns.

TIME FOR INPUT

The developers, based in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., have been involved with agricultural development on the Big Island, already own about 1,200 acres of land in Kahuku and specialize in agricultural management, Hannemann said.

"They're more than potential (developers)," Hannemann said. "They're very interested in doing this ... and they spent some time developing a plan."

Now it's a matter of hearing back from the community, Hannemann said.

"If the community nixes (the proposal) through the KVA ... I fulfilled my obligation of putting something before them," he said. "They'll need to come up with something that not only the city can agree to, but that Campbell Estate will agree to."

There's still a lot of negotiation and "massaging" of the proposal that needs to be done, said Jimmy Leonardi, a KVA vice president.

"The bottom line is that the (KVA) board is really not going to make the decision," Leonardi said. "We want the people to make the decision."

Reach Zenaida Serrano at zserrano@honoluluadvertiser.com.