Kawai Nui Marsh Plan(s): An Eco Disneyland or Wet-Lands Preservation?

Community meeting on November 30th 9 am -12 pm at Le Jardin Academy

The Kawai Nui marsh is sacred to practitioners of Hawaiian culture and was designated a Kawai NuiWetland of International Importance in 2005 under the Ramsar Convention. The marsh is home to several endangered water birds and habitat for migratory birds during their yearly migration. It also serves as a refuge and open-space that brings a sense of peace and nature to the residents of Kailua.

The state government; through its DLNR Departments of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of State Parks are proposing major construction and development in and around Kawai Nui marsh according to a “consultant created” plan called the Kawainui‑Hamakua Marsh Complex Master Plan.

State Proposed Kawainui‑Hamakua Marsh Complex Master Plan:
· A 4,000 ft boardwalk around the marsh plus paved walkways
· At least 7 parking lots, acres of paved parking, and bus loading
· At least 7 buildings at various locations around the marsh
· A bridge and walkway over Kawainui Canal and Maunawili Stream.

Keep It Kailua believes The State’s Plan, which has been presented to public via presentations; including renderings, photos and maps, looks more like a “Development Plan” than a “Preservation Master Plan”.

So much development? Yet no one seems to know where these concepts originated? Windward Representatives Cynthia Thielen and Chris Lee requested DLNR to provide them with a copy of the DLNR’s contract with the consulting firm designing the plan. So far, DLNR has failed to honor their request for these public documents.

Many of those who attended the public meetings regarding the marsh and the State’s hired consultant’s presentation to the Kailua Neighborhood Board (KNB) believe the State’s plan serves the construction industry, tourism industry, and commercial landowners wanting another anchor attraction to bring more visitors to the Windward side. When the State officials were asked to provide a model for management and enforcement of Kawai Nui, they admitted to having none (Kailua Neighborhood Board PZE meeting 9/17/13).

Keep It Kailua does not believe the proposed State plan properly addresses the management of the wetlands, its habitat, water quality and the protection of wild-life. In addition, the plan does not sufficiently explain the protection of archaeological sites, impacts from buildings on or near the wetland, and impacts from additional vehicles, residents and tourists visiting the various building sites and parking areas on or near the wetlands.

In contrast to the State’s proposed plan, a grass-roots Windward community sponsored plan called the Kawai Nui Marsh Restoration Plan has been presented to the public and State officials. This proposal was developed with assistance by the recently‑deceased Kahu Ryan Kalama, who was President of the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club. The restoration plan has been reviewed and endorsed by numerous organizations including The Outdoor Circle, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, the Audubon Society, the Kailua Neighborhood Board and others.

Windward Community’s Grass-Roots Proposed Kawai Nui Marsh Restoration Plan:
· Emphasizes preservation and protection of the marsh.
· Allows Low-impact facilities for Hawaiian cultural practices.
· Prohibits commercial activity.

Keep it Kailua opposes the State’s current development plan for Kawai Nui Marsh and endorses the Windward Grass-roots Community proposed plan.

Please attend the public meeting on the State proposed Kawainui-Hamakua Marsh Complex Master Plan on November 30th from 9 a.m. to noon at Le Jardin Academy and ask State officials to scrap their plan and utilize the Windward Community’s Proposed Kawai Nui Marsh Restoration Plan.

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KNB to HTA: Stop promoting “Illegal” Visitor Lodging in Kailua

Media distorts Resolution with Sensational Headlines

The Kailua Neighborhood Board passed a resolution in September requesting the Hawaii Tourism Authority (a state-supported agency) to stop promoting Kailua’s “residential-zoned” neighborhoods for visitor accommodations in their marketing material. All of Kailua’s neighborhoods are zoned residential, not resort. Visitor lodging businesses (hotels, motels, vacation rentals & B&B lodges) are “non-conforming” in residential-only zoning. While there are a few Kailua vacation rentals and B&B lodges (65) that are grandfathered with “non-conforming use” certificates that enable them to operate legally, over 80% of the estimated 500 vacation rentals and B&B hotels in Kailua are ILLEGAL.

Weekly rental

Prior to the resolution, the Hawaii Tourism Authority marketing material made no reference to the fact that the vast majority of vacation rental and B&B lodges in Kailua are illegal and more importantly, it did not inform vacationers on how to know if their accommodations were legitimate or not.

In addition, The Kailua Neighborhood Board explained to the Hawaii Tourism Authority that short-term rentals reduce the housing supply for local residents, contribute to escalating rents and housing prices, promote crime and negatively impact the social, environmental and cultural residential character of Kailua’s neighborhoods.

Keep it Kailua believes the Kailua Neighborhood Board’s resolution is a fair and reasonable request. After all, a “public” agency should not be promoting illegal activities directly or indirectly.

Last week, An AP article picked-up by many mainland news agencies ran a story regarding the resolution. Many of media outlets utilized misleading headlines such as “Hawaii town to State: Stop sending tourists here” and “Kailua Residents Want Tourists to Stay Away”. As expected, the media wants to attract readers and sell ads, so they feel compelled to use sensational headlines that are over the top.  The truth is the Kailua Neighborhood Board resolution never stated or even implied visitors are not welcome to Kailua. The resolution simply asked the Hawaii Tourism Authority to stop promoting visitor lodging businesses in Kailua’s residential zoned neighborhoods.

Who is to blame? Certainly the Hawaii Tourism Authority and their marketing experts deserve to be blamed for their blunder. They have always been aware that the vast majority of Kailua’s vacation rentals and B&B lodges are illegal and the community opposes them, but they did nothing to inform visitors to stay away from these scofflaw businesses. After the resolution was introduced, the Hawaii Tourism Authority should have explained to the media that the resolution was the community’s objection to the promotion of illegal visitor accommodations in residential-only zoning and informed visitors on how to “officially” determine if their accommodations are legitimate. Instead, the Hawaii Tourism Authority ignored the issue of the illegal businesses and said they want to “bring balance” to the Kailua community.

Our politicians and City Officials should also be held responsible for not publicly explaining the intent of the resolution and emphasizing the fact that all visitor lodging businesses are non-conforming in residential zoning. They could have easily defused the issue by sympathizing with the neighborhood board’s desire to have our zoning laws enforced and assisting the Hawaii Tourism Authority in educating visitors on how to determine if their lodging choices are legal.

But ultimately, the majority of the blame should be directed at the owners of the illegal vacation rentals and B&B lodges. Illegal is illegal. These scofflaws are breaking the law. It’s time for them to be shut down!

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Kailua’s Tourism Sprawl = More Crime?

The Star Advertiser Editorial section has suggested Kailua’s tourism boom is a factor for increasing crime in Kailua. Keep it Kailua would have to agree with the Star Advertiser’s conclusion for multiple reasons. First and foremost, is the fact that Kailua has been marketed to the world as a Windward “Resort” area by the illegal vacation rental operators and Kaneohe Ranch. So not only are the tourists being drawn into the community, but criminals are also being drawn to the community because they also see it as an up-scale resort area filled with unsuspecting tourists and multi-million dollar vacation homes. Secondly, having an increased number of strangers walking and driving through your neighborhood makes it difficult to track and identify potential thieves. And finally, Illegal vacation rental owners and their guest cannot participate in Neighborhood Watch programs, making their neighbors more vulnerable to break-ins. We all need to ask ourselves, do we want to be the “Windward Waikiki”? If not, the only real option we have is to not allow our residential-zoned homes be turned into “horizontal-hotels” and our public beaches and parks be turned into “commercial tourist traps”!


For Kailuans, more means more crime, too

It’s difficult to know how to read the recent reports of crime trends in Kailua, other than with distress.

Property crimes are up. Example: There were 271 thefts from autos for March-June 2013, with 118 cases in that period last year.

That suggests that maybe the increased tourist traffic in the town is a factor. Police are always warning visitors to Hawaii not to leave valuables in their rental cars, and that advice goes for local residents, too.

Is it the sluggish economy? And is it only a problem in Kailua, or is it that this town has a tendency to speak up more assertively than other neighborhoods?

In any case, when one of the crime victims is a veteran legislator — state Rep. Cynthia Thielen had a close encounter with a burglar at her home — the topic will remain high profile for some time.


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Town Party 4-28-13 A

Thank you everyone for attending the annual “I Love Kailua” Town Party on Sunday, April 28th 2013. As always, the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle did a tremendous job in throwing Kailua’s best community party.  Keep it Kailua’s booth was extremely popular with attendees who showered us with support and appreciation for our efforts to preserve Kailua’s residential character and residential housing supply.

Of course, there are always a few sour grapes in the crowd. One such sour grape had the audacity to tell us he supported illegal vacation rentals in our neighborhoods because “local” residents make lousy neighbors! That comment sounded reminiscent of the former leader of Hawaii’s Vacation Rental Owners Association who wrote a commentary boasting “The long-term renters who would replace short-term renters (vacationers) would be in our neighborhoods, day in and day out. They would crowd the neighborhoods with extra cars; their kids would crowd our overcrowded schools. They would commute with the rest of us and the “pride of ownership” in neighborhoods would diminish”.

Maybe it’s time for this sour grape to also return back to the mainland?

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Pivotal Mayoral Race May Determine Kailua’s Future!

Residential Community or Tourist-Resort Destination?

Most of the focus of the upcoming Mayoral election has been on the proposed 5+ billion dollar rail project. However, several other key issues also hang in the balance, one of which is the future of Kailua. The outcome of the election will be critical to determining whether Kailua will remain residential in nature or become a tourist/de-facto resort destination.

Keep it Kailua recently sent out a survey to Mayoral candidates Ben Cayetano and Kirk Caldwell asking them for their positions on three issues of major concern to many Kailua residents: 1) commercial visitor lodging in residentially-zoned neighborhoods, 2) commercial activity at Kailua’s beach parks, and 3) the promotion of Kailua as a tourist destination and de-facto resort area. Keep it Kailua has also researched both candidates’ records and public statements regarding these issues. Below are summaries of the candidates’ responses to our survey questions and our analysis.

Commercial Visitor Lodging in Residentially-Zoned Neighborhoods:

Ben Cayetano stated that he would oppose any legislation or administrative action that would permit visitor lodging, such as short-term vacation rentals, in Kailua’s residential neighborhoods. In contrast, Kirk Caldwell refused to give a yes or no answer to the question and commented that he would consider licensing visitor lodging in residential neighborhoods. Additional research by Keep it Kailua indicates that Caldwell does in fact have a position on this issue. On his campaign website, Caldwell stated in a speech to Ewa residents that he would support licensing vacation rentals on Oahu.

Tourism Businesses Utilizing Kailua’s Public Beach Parks:

Ben Cayetano stated that he would oppose any legislation or administrative action that would allow tourism-oriented businesses, such as kayak tour companies and tour buses, to operate in Kailua’s public beach parks. Kirk Caldwell, on the other hand, stated that he would support legislation or administrative action that would allow such businesses to operate in Kailua’s public beach parks.

Promoting Kailua as a Tourist Destination:

Ben Cayetano stated that he opposes any legislation or administrative action that would promote Kailua as a tourist destination or resort area. Kirk Caldwell also stated that he would oppose such legislation, but commented that merchants benefit from visitor spending and that Kailua should welcome visitors. Given this comment and his support for additional visitor lodging in residential neighborhoods and for tourism-oriented businesses utilizing Kailua’s beach parks, we must conclude that Caldwell would support legislation or administrative action that would promote Kailua as a tourist destination or resort area.

Keep It Kailua’s Assessment:

Based on the responses to the survey questions and additional investigation, Keep it Kailua believes that Ben Cayetano would work to keep Kailua a residential community and would protect Kailua’s residential housing supply by not allowing homes to be converted into commercial visitor lodging units. In addition, Ben Cayetano would keep Kailua public beach parks residential in nature and not allow them to be exploited for the financial gain of the tourism industry. Cayetano commented that he supports the tourism industry, but that the proliferation of tourism-related commercial activities in residential neighborhoods and our parks and beaches are of great concern to him. Cayetano also stated that any commercial activity that erodes the character of residential neighborhoods must be strictly regulated and in most cases banned.

Keep it Kailua believes that Kirk Caldwell would allow visitor lodging units to proliferate in Kailua’s residential-zone neighborhoods, changing the land-use of properties from residential to quasi-resort. Caldwell commented that he was only concerned with noise and traffic issues. Keep it Kailua is disappointed that Caldwell did not express concern that visitor lodging businesses in residential zoning removes neighbors from our neighborhoods and diminishes Kailua’s social capital, or that using homes as commercial lodging reduces the supply of housing for residents and raises long-term rentals costs and property taxes. Caldwell’s support for the operation of tourism-oriented businesses in Kailua’s public beach parks is also highly troubling. Keep it Kailua is concerned that Caldwell does not understand that allowing visitor lodging businesses in Kailua’s residential neighborhoods and tourism-oriented businesses in our public beach parks helps promote Kailua as a tourist destination and de-facto resort area and significantly destabilizes our residential community.



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Thank You For Saving Kailua’s Beach Parks!

From our friends at “We are Kailua”:

Bill 11 is law! Congratulations and thank you everyone who helped make this possible. This is proof that WE ALL DO BETTER WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER!

Now we need to ensure that this law is enforced. If you see illegal commercial activity at Kailua or Kalama beach parks you need to call 911, say that this is not an emergency, and describe the illegal activity. The following is considered illegal: any commercial drop offs at Kailua or Kalama beach parks (kayak drop offs or other ocean activity equipment etc.), any commercial business operating in the parks, any large or small tour buses inside the beach parks (tour buses can drop off at city bus stops, but no buses in parks), and no Segway tours in park. When I say in the beach park that also means the canal mouth, because it is also considered a part of Kailua Beach Park. We have been working on enforcement by talking with HPD. However, we all need to call and ensure that they do enforce. This is not an easy task, but it will get better with time and our persistence. Mahalo for your support!

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Keep Kailua a Residential Community – Please Attend May 9th City Council Meeting


On Wednesday, May 9th – 2:00pm at the Pali Golf Course Clubhouse Banquet Room, the City Council will have a second of three readings of Bill 11CD1. We need Kailua Residents to tell the City Council we do not want Kailua to be the Windward Waikiki and ask the Council to support Bill 11 CD1 as proposed.

Bill 11 CD1 will:

  1. Prohibits commercial activities, including recreational stops by tour companies, but excluding commercial filming activities, at Kailua Beach Park and Kalama Beach Park.
  2. Provides that no permit shall be issued for commercial activities at Kailua Beach Park and Kalama Beach Park, including permits for recreational stops by commercial tour companies, but excluding permits for commercial filming activities.

The continuing exploitation of Kailua as a tourist trap must stop if Kailua wants to retain its residential character.



Prior to the Day of the Meeting

Persons wishing to testify on the morning calendar are requested to register as follows:

a. On-Line at http://www1.honolulu.gov/council/attnspkccl.htm

b. By faxing to 768-3826 your name, phone number and subject matter;

c. By filling out the registration form in person; or

d. By calling 768-3813.


On-site on the Day of the Meeting

Registration on-site for items listed on the morning calendar will be from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Persons who have not registered to testify by the deadline will be given an opportunity to speak on an item following oral testimonies of the registered speakers.

Each speaker shall not have anyone else read their statement and is limited to:

a. Three-minute presentation on New Business and Sunshine items;

b. One-minute presentation on all other items.

WRITTEN TESTIMONY – Prior to the Day of the Meeting

Written testimony may be faxed to 768-3826 or e-mailed at http://www1.honolulu.gov/council/emailccl.htm for distribution at the meeting.

15 copies are requested if written testimony is submitted on-site.

If submitted, written testimonies, including the testifier’s address, e-mail address and phone number, may be posted by the City Clerk and available to the public on the City’s DocuShare Website.

Any physically challenged person requiring special assistance should call 768-3813 for details at least one day prior to the meeting date.

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Save Kailua from becoming the Windward Waikiki!

Please attend a special Honolulu City Council meeting on April 18th, 2012  6:30PM at the Kailua High School Cafeteria (451 Ulumanu Dr.). The Honolulu City Council’s Park and Cultural Affairs Committee will be having a public hearing about proposed amendments to Bill 11 (addresses commercial activities at Kailua beach parks).

Keep it Kailua supports these amendments and ask all Oahu residents to support these and all other efforts to curb the continuing trend of making Kailua a tourist trap.

  1. Removes previous conditions relating to permit limitations, watercraft activities, and recreational stops at Kailua Beach Park and Kalama Beach Park.
  2. Prohibits commercial activities, including recreational stops by tour companies, but excluding commercial filming activities, at Kailua Beach Park and Kalama Beach Park.
  3. Provides that no permit shall be issued for commercial activities at Kailua Beach Park and Kalama Beach Park, including permits for recreational stops by commercial tour companies, but excluding permits for commercial filming activities.

To register to speak or submit testimony:

Speaker Registration:   Persons wishing to speak may register through Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 4:30 p.m. by

  1. On-Line at http://www1.honolulu.gov/council/attnspkpca.htm;
  2. By faxing to 768-3827 your name, phone number and the agenda item;
  3. By filling out a registration form in person; or
  4. By calling 768-3816.

Registration on-site will begin at 5:30 p.m. Each speaker is limited to a one-minute presentation. Persons who have not registered to testify will be given an opportunity to speak on an item following oral testimonies of the registered speakers.

Written Testimony – Must be Submitted prior to the Day of the Meeting: Written testimony may be faxed to 768-3827 or emailed at http://www1.honolulu.gov/council/emailpca.htm for distribution at the meeting. 15 copies are requested if written testimony is submitted on-site. By submitting written testimony, you are not automatically registered to speak.  Refer to “SPEAKER REGISTRATION” procedures above.

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SB2927 is WRONG for Kailua!

Kailua's Future?

Keep it Kailua strongly opposes Hawaii Senate Bill 2927. We consider it an insidious attack on open government. SB 2927 could exempt development projects from public scrutiny and accountability. It shuts out the public by allowing  developers with projects near a transit station (rail or bus) free rein with numerous exemptions and minimal public input.

It appears SB2927 would:

  1. Circumvent county general plans, development and sustainable community plans.
  2. Exempt projects from zoning regulations, impact fees, and parking standards.
  3. Diminishes opportunities for public feedback.
  4. Exempt projects on state or county land from Hawaii Revise Statutes Chapter 343 environmental review.
  5. Exempt development from all fees associated with land development.
  6. Provide indemnity for any county, its officials, or employees for actions taken regarding exceptional planning projects (no government official will held responsible for causing harm).

What this could mean for Kailua is a free-pass for a developer to build anything they want within a quarter mile of a bus station in Kailua. That could possibly include high-rises or hotels!

Keep it Kailua believes SB 2927 violates due process, transparency, and most importantly public input regarding the future of our community.

Please call or email both the Hawaii House and Senate representatives and ask them to oppose SB2927

E-MAIL AND CALL ALL HOUSE MEMBERS BY CLICKING ON THE FOLLOWING: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/members/legislators.aspx?chamber=H

E-MAIL AND CALL ALL SENATORS GO TO: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/members/legislators.aspx?chamber=S

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City Council Bill 11: Promotes Kailua as the Windward Waikiki

Our neighborhood beach parks are being threatened by increased commercialization. City Council member Ikaika Anderson has introduced City Council Bill 11 that would by ordinance authorize an unlimited number of tour buses to drop off tourist at Kailua beach park and would allow four tourist-oriented concession stands to operate at Kalama Beach Park and Kailua Beach Park.

Keep it Kailua believes this is the wrong approach. Bill 11 should be modified to prohibit tour buses and ban commercial activities from our beach parks. Kailua is a residential community and our beach parks should be a safe-haven from commercialization.

This Friday, March 30th at 3:30PM, please join fellow residents for sign-waving demonstration at the park across from Castle Hospital. Let’s make a presence and show the Council we don’t want Kailua turned into a resort area. Please bring blank poster boards and permanent pens and we will make our messages consistent.

Please also write, e-mail, or call council members on the Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee asking them to change Bill 11 to specify the following:

1) No tourist buses dropping off tourist at Kailua or Kalama beach parks.
2) There shall be no vendor permits issued for Kailua or Kalama beaches.

Please contact all the following Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee members via phone and e-mail and state the above two points:

Ikaika Anderson (808) 768-5003 ianderson@honolulu.gov

Tom Berg (808) 768-5001 tberg@honolulu.gov

Romy Cachola (808) 768-5007 rcachola.honolulu.gov

Tulsi Gabbard (808) 768-5006 tgabbard@honolulu.gov

Breene Harimoto (808) 768-5008 bharimoto@honolulu.gov

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