Residences at Aina Haina: Jeff Stone's Plans in Wailupe Valley Opposed
by Anson O. Rego, Aina Haina Resident
The hasty actions of the Honolulu Dept. of Planning & Permitting to quietly approve building permits January 28 for Jeff Stone's long-controversial "Residences at Aina Haina" development without a full archeological survey is an example of what happens when planning and permitting are made without adequate consideration of public input, the impact on the community, or the environment. Jeff and his wife Laurie Stone contributed $3000 to Kirk Caldwell's recent Mayoral campaign, according to Campaign Spending Commission reports.
Attorney Lorrie Stone had previously represented both the former landowner, Hong Kong-based Volumes Corporation, and National Housing Corporation, the company that pushed a 1970s plan to build a massive cemetery on a 94.7 acre Wailupe Valley site, a project which failed to proceed due to widespread community opposition.
In 1999, the City County authorized the money to acquire all 94.7 acres which includes the 9.5 acres slated for "Residences at Aina Haina", as a nature preserve. But somehow, this small residential zoned 9.5 acres in an unstable soils area bordering Wailupe stream was not purchased by the City. Instead, according to news reports, it was sold to developer Jeff Stone's company Ko Olina Hotel #10 LLC, for $2.1 million--about $1 million less than the city had budgeted--without the community or public knowing of it for years.
In spite of years of questions, by the Neighborhood Board, by concerned citizens, by cultural leaders, and the Aina Haina Community Association, apparently, today, no one within the City at the time of this transfer/purchase has any memory of how this happened.
Previous tentative plans to build on this property by this owner/developer have included, at different times a potential gated community of various numbers of luxury homes and then an actually- filed subdivision in 2007 for a small community of 8 homes which was deferred pending required submissions to DNLR Na Ala Hele Trails Dept of Parks and Recreation etc. Stone never complied and no building permits were ever issued.
These plans never materialized or were deferred by DPP or withdrawn due to other questions about the lack of infrastructure and well-known concerns about soil stability in the valley. They did not even get to the stage where cultural, archeological, and ecological and valley access impacts needed to be looked at.
Residences at Aina Haina/Hao Street Partners obtained DPP approval for two building permits, yet Hao Street Partners' recent September 11, 2012 Soil Engineering Report shows soil testing for eight separate single family homes. So is it two residences now -- and more later? By building only two residences on 9.5 acres, is Stone attempting to avoid State and Honolulu County laws mandating protection of public access to the Wailupe Valley Trail, without mandatory consultation and input, by the State DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife's Na Ala Hele Trails & Access division?
The `Aina Haina Community Association hosted a February 13th Special Community Meeting to discuss the two recently issued City Dept. of Planning & Permitting (DPP) Building Permits and Grading Permits, and close to a hundred residents turned out unanimously voicing opposition to the development . Not one representative from the Mayor's office or DPP attended, although invited the day before the meeting.
Stone, who resides on the beachfront across the Valley, was also invited but did not attend the community meeting.
The opposition to the Wailupe residential development is widespread among many residents and organizations interested in preserving natural areas on Oahu. Further information is posted on the Aina Haina Community Association website www.ainahaina.org.
HW 2007: Digging up dirt -- Plans for homes mucked up by city blunder
RESIDENCES AT AINA HAINA LLC
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY ADVISORS, INC.