Residents of an old plantation village on leasehold land in Kahuku face an uncertain future after the village’s landowner announced plans to cut out a nonprofit community association from representing residents in future ground lease negotiations.
The association, established by residents of Kahuku Village, has long tried to keep ground rents low for tenants in the village’s 71 homes.
But yesterday, landowner Continental Pacific LLC notified residents that the association’s role as property manager and master lessee for many of the homes will be terminated as of July 31.
After that, residents will be left to negotiate individually with Florida-based Continental Pacific over how much they pay to lease the land under their homes.
Residents are all on month-to-month leases.
Though Continental Pacific is not proposing a rent increase, some residents fear that the loss of collective negotiating power will allow Continental Pacific to more easily raise rent beyond what they can afford.
The change also will leave residents without a representative to handle maintenance, insurance and other functions the association provided as a property manager.
Jesse Schiel, a local attorney representing Continental Pacific, said the company sought the change because it will provide more flexibility on future options for the land.
A nonprofit established three years ago to support farming in Hawaii plans to set up an agricultural park for small farmers in Kunia on land owned by the Army and a private development partner.
The Hawaii Agricultural Foundation hopes to interest 10 or more local farmers in leasing the roughly 200-acre property formerly planted in pineapple and sugar cane.
Lease terms — including rents and the length of leases — have yet to be set, though the foundation aims to have initial tenants on the land by the end of the year, according to Dean Okimoto, a Waimanalo farmer serving as the foundation’s president.
A groundbreaking ceremony at the site is scheduled for today.
The land is part of 2,400 acres the Army and development partner Lend Lease bought in 2008 from Campbell Estate for $32 million, according to property records.
Ann M. Choo Wharton, a spokeswoman for the Army-Lend Lease venture known as Island Palm Communities, said the Army initially planned to expand housing for nearby Schofield Barracks on a small piece of the property. But the Army’s housing needs changed, which prompted the landowners to seek tenants for the whole property.
Monsanto in 2009 leased 1,675 acres for 40 years to grow seed corn. The Army and Lend Lease have 680 acres available for lease and are considering possible renewable-energy uses on another piece of the land, Wharton said.
The roughly 200 acres for the ag park is part of what Monsanto leases. As part of the Monsanto lease, the Army and Lend Lease required that 10 percent of the land be made available to local farmers.
The state appeals court has rejected two of three challenges by Windward farmers and environmentalists who want a state commission to direct more water to flow from the Waiahole Ditch to Windward streams.
In an unanimous decision, the Intermediate Court of Appeals upheld most of the 2006 decision by the Commission on Water Resource Management, which divided the ditch system’s 27 millions of gallons of water a day in roughly equal amounts to Central Oahu and the Windward watershed.
The court rejected challenges by Hakipuu Ohana, Ka Lahui Hawaii and Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, which wanted the court to overturn the commission’s allotment of 4 million gallons a day to Campbell Estate and to increase the water flow to Windward streams and stream-side taro farms.
The court agreed with the challengers on one point in ordering the commission to reconsider granting 750,000 gallons a day to Puu Makakilo Inc. for a golf course.
Proposed ‘Ewa development defies snap judgments
Sep 2, 2009
Last Friday’s daylong meeting of the State Land Use Commission, to rule on a petition by mega-developer D.R. Horton-Schuler to change the current zoning on 1,500 acres of prime ‘Ewa farmland from agriculture to mixed-use residential and commercial, was anything but boring.
Here’s Kioni Dudley, intervenor in the case, whom some have called the leader of the opposition: “In the beginning, over two years ago, this was just a gut feeling I had.” Now, it is more than a feeling, as Mr. Dudley–and everyone else with a sore gut over the proposed zone change–has picked up some unexpected allies, in the form of at least three State agencies and several local politicians.
Listen to Bryan Yee of the Attorney General’s office, speaking for the State Office of Planning: “We now know that if the petition [for the zoning change] goes through, H-I will be a parking lot from Waiawa to Makakilo. And the petitioner (Schuler) isn’t proposing any solutions.”