Oahu Single Family Housing Costs 2000-2016 (Source: HICentral.com)
16 Years of Litigation: Sierra Club Directly Responsible for Lack of Affordable Housing
SA: … Castle & Cooke Hawaii plans a ceremonial groundbreaking this morning for an initial piece of its 3,500-home project, which has been planned since the mid-1990s and struggled through three state regulatory proceedings as well as two Hawaii Supreme Court challenges….
Completing Koa Ridge is expected to take about 10 years and also include a hospital, hotel, elementary school, light industrial park and about 500,000 square feet of space for stores, restaurants and other commercial uses on 576 acres.
To reach today’s start, Castle & Cooke survived a daunting regulatory experience in which the project was challenged by opponents and stopped twice by state court rulings….
Castle & Cooke began planning Koa Ridge as a bigger project on 1,248 acres in the mid-1990s as its onetime sister company Dole Food moved toward ceasing pineapple farming on the site. In 2000, the company petitioned the state Land Use Commission to reclassify the agricultural land for urban use.
The LUC approved part of the plan covering 760 acres in 2002, and Castle & Cooke projected that construction would start in 2007.
However, the Sierra Club sued to overturn the ruling on grounds that the developer should have produced an environmental assessment prior to LUC review. Castle & Cooke intended to complete the assessment after the LUC decision and before City Council consideration for zoning. But a Circuit Court judge ruled against the developer in 2003, and the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld that decision in 2006.
The second go-round for Koa Ridge at the LUC took place in 2008 after Castle & Cooke revised its plan and completed an environmental impact statement. The LUC approved the project in 2010. This time the Sierra Club challenged the validity of one vote from the nine-member commission.
The initial LUC vote during a decision-making hearing was 7-1. But one month later the vote was 6-0 to adopt a final written order because two commissioners were absent and one was recused…..
Under LUC rules, six votes are needed for land use changes. The Sierra Club argued that the vote from one commissioner, Duane Kanuha, wasn’t valid because his term had expired in 2009. Then-Gov. Linda Lingle kept Kanuha on the commission as a holdover, but the state Senate rejected Kanuha for a second term before the Koa Ridge vote. A Circuit Court judge sided with the Sierra Club in 2011.
Castle & Cooke tangled with the Sierra Club once more over Koa Ridge in a third round of LUC hearings and in court.
After a favorable 7-0 LUC decision in 2012, the Sierra Club along with then-Sen. Clayton Hee appealed in court largely on grounds that the commission breached a state constitutional mandate to preserve agricultural lands and erroneously concluded that Koa Ridge was necessary for urban growth. Last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that sided with Castle & Cooke.
Saunders said the setbacks led to better Koa Ridge designs. But he also said delays contributed to Oahu’s housing shortage and have made homes costlier given that construction costs doubled since the LUC’s first approval.
“That definitely doubled the price of the homes,” he said. “The longer we delay building homes, the higher the prices will go.”…
read … Castle & Cooke Hawaii ready to break ground at Koa Ridge
* * * * *
As Explained: How A&B Wins Big From Environmental Litigation
* * * * *
CASTLE & COOKE BREAKS GROUND ON THE LONG AWAITED KOA RIDGE COMMUNITY
Construction to begin on 3,500 new housing units for Hawai‘i families
News Release from Castle & Cooke Hawai‘i Nov 2, 2017
WAIPIO, HI – Today Castle & Cooke Hawai‘i held a groundbreaking ceremony and blessing for the long awaited Koa Ridge community, signaling the start of construction of 3,500 new residential housing units in Central O‘ahu.
Located on 576 acres off Ka Uka Boulevard, between Waipio and Mililani, the mixed-use, master-planned community of Koa Ridge will offer single family, multi-family, senior and 1,050 affordable homes located in close proximity to retail, services, health care and community amenities.
“We have been committed to Koa Ridge for more than 20 years. This project will not only provide much needed housing opportunities for local residents, it will also create an estimated 1,000 construction and 2,300 permanent jobs,” said Harry Saunders, president of Castle & Cooke Hawai‘i. “Since delivering the last home in Mililani in 2008, we have seen growing demand for new housing for local families, due to an extremely short supply across the state. We look forward to building Koa Ridge and creating a new, vibrant community for residents to live, work and play.”
For this $2 billion construction project, Castle & Cooke will be investing $500 million in community infrastructure improvements, including water, sewer, drainage and roadway upgrades that will begin next month. Home construction will start in late 2018.
The vision for Koa Ridge is to create a community for residents to work, shop and dine in a walkable neighborhood. The plans include retail, entertainment, dining, a medical center, community center, industrial/business center, parks and a new elementary school. The community will be linked with sidewalks and bicycle paths for ease of access, as well as public transportation, allowing residents the option to leave their car at home.
Koa Ridge was granted Urban District approval by the State Land Use Commission (LUC) in June 2012, which was upheld by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in April 2016, and received Zone Change approval from the Honolulu City Council in November 2013.
“For the last 50 years, Castle & Cooke has delivered more than 24,000 homes for local families. Historically, more than 95 percent of our buyers are from Hawai‘i and we anticipate the same level of local interest in Koa Ridge,” added Saunders.
The delivery of the first 170 homes, including affordable units, is scheduled for 2019.
Sales information on Koa Ridge will be available approximately one year prior to the delivery of the first homes. Individuals interested in learning more are encouraged to register for Castle & Cooke’s Web Advantage Program (WAP). WAP subscribers will be emailed project and sales information and updates as soon it becomes available.
For more information, please visit Castle & Cooke Hawai‘i or Koa Ridge.
# # #
About Castle and Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc.
Castle & Cooke Hawai‘i, a division of Castle & Cooke, Inc. was founded in 1851 and is now a diversified company with interests in real estate, community development, agriculture and aviation. One of the nation’s oldest and most respected developers, the Hawai‘i operations have been guided by these principles: investing in Hawai‘i, creating communities, delivering dreams, and diversifying to sustain our future. For more information, please visit www.CastleCookeHawaii.com.