Hawaii Land Commision Rezones Rural Acreage in Central and West Oahu for Master-Planned Development

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor The Hawaii Land Use Commission (LUC) has approved the reclassification of approximately 800 acres of prime agriculture lands, paving the way for the development of the $2.2 billion Koa Ridge master-planned community in Central Oahu by Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc. By a 7-0 decision, the commision approved changes in [...]

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Hawaii Land Use Commission (LUC) has approved the reclassification of approximately 800 acres of prime agriculture lands, paving the way for the development of the $2.2 billion Koa Ridge master-planned community in Central Oahu by Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc.

By a 7-0 decision, the commision approved changes in land designation from agriculture to urban. The 5,000-home community would sit on both sides of the H-2 Freeway, between Waipio and Mililani, and include a medical center.

According to the Pacific Business News, the development is expected to create 2,500 permanent jobs, including 1,100 in the medical field, and generate a total of $14 million in annual tax revenue. Moreover, it is estimated that over a period of 15 years, the project will create 750 construction jobs and 1,100 indirect jobs annually.

By an 8-1 vote, the state LUC also approved D.R. Horton’s petition to reclassify more than 1,500 acres of agricultural land between Kapolei, Ewa and Waipahu. D.R. Horton – Schuler is now one step closer to building its 11,750-home Hoopili master-planned community in Ewa: a mix of affordable rentals, senior, multifamily and single family housing options.

The newspaper reports that the project would create 27,000 jobs in construction and related trades during a 20-year period, as well as 7,000 permanent jobs.

Opponents argue that the new developments will have a negative impact on agriculture and traffic. Supporters on the other hand favor the creation of additional housing opportunities for Oahu’s rapid population growth. Furthermore, they argue that Hawaii has more than 280,000 acres of arable, high-quality land reserved for agriculture.

The LUC has approved both developments with certain conditions, mainly related to traffic and transportation concerns. Castle & Cooke will fund any highway improvements related to the project, whereas D.R. Horton will come up with contingency plans that address traffic issues in case the city’s rail-transit project planned between Kapolei and Ala Moana Center is canceled.

Photo credits: www.hoopilioahu.com