On Thursday, the Land Use Commission will hold another public hearing on Castle & Cooke’s plans to build a new “community” on 768 acres between Waipio and Mililani. The Koa Ridge project, which includes two schools, a medical complex, a 150-room hotel and nearly half a million square feet of commercial space, relies on the LUC’s approval, and on its willingness to take the land out of agricultural zoning.
The Sierra Club and other environmental and agricultural advocates say that Koa Ridge would deprive Oahu of some of its very best agricultural land and that the project contributes to urban sprawl.
We didn’t have a reporter at the first hearing last month. The Advertiser reported that public testimony showed strong support for the project, with only one person speaking out in opposition. According to that report, most area residents who testified expressed hope that Koa Ridge might keep housing costs down for middle class families.
That’s an important goal, but doesn’t it seem like there are other ways to achieve it? At a time when so much energy is going into rethinking agricultural production and making farming viable on this island again, taking prime ag land out of production–forever–seems like a step in the wrong direction.
State Land Use Commission Meeting, 235 S. Beretania St, Thu 2/18, 9am, 587-3822