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Kaimuki Neighborhood Board Minutes Posted for June 19, 2013 Meeting
Courtesy of Neighborhood Commission Office
Kaimuki Neighborhood Board No. 4
DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013
KAIMUKI CHRISTIAN CHURCH FELLOWSHIP HALL
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Lyle Bullock Jr. called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. with a quorum of seven (7) members present. Note -- This 11 member Board requires six (6) members to establish quorum and to take official Board action.
Members Present: Lyle Bullock, Jr., Paul Hoe, Marilyn Moniz-Kahoohanohano, Brian Kang, Abigail Leong, Sharon Schneider, Leonard Tam and Lori Yamada (arrived 7:11 p.m.).
Members Absent: Russell McGuire
Vacancies: There are two (2) vacancies on the Board. One (1) vacancy in Subdistrict 1, East Kaimuki and Business District, and one (1) vacancy in Subdistrict 3, West Kaimuki.
Guests: Russell Kokobun (Governor Neil Abercrombie's Representative), Senator Les Ihara, Representative Bertrand Kobayashi, Keith Ho (Department of Information Technology and Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative), Councilmember Ann Kobayashi and Jarrett Yip (Councilmember Kobayashi's Office staff), Micah Munekata (Councilmember Stanley Chang's Representative), Lieutenant Clinton Sukekane and Officer Chad Yamada (Honolulu Police Department); Acting Captain Chris Miller (Honolulu Fire Department); Lorna Heller (Board of Water Supply); Miles Takaaze (Leahi Hospital), Steve Nagata, Loren Lasher, F. Nichou, Hiilei Kawelo, Ed and Lee Chuh, Vincent Lin, Lem and Vickie Kau, and Adam LeFebvre (Neighborhood Commission Office staff).
FILLING OF BOARD VACANCY: Chair Bullock opened the floor for nominations or volunteers to fill the two (2) vacancies on the Board (Sub district 1 and Sub district 3). There were no nominations or volunteers at this time.
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS:
Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) -- Acting Captain Chris Miller reported the following:
· May 2013 Fire Statistics -- There were 3 building fires, 66 medical emergencies, 4 search and rescues, and 38 miscellaneous calls.
· Fire Safety Tip -- It was recommended clearing a 30 foot wide break between an area where a wildland fire could occur and any standing structures. Residents were advised to draft an emergency preparedness plan, with any possible evacuation routes.
Questions comments and concerns followed:
1. Search and Rescues -- HFD responds to calls at Maunalani Heights an estimated four (4) times per month.
2. Fire Alarm -- The fire station on Koko Head Avenue will emit an alarm to alert nearby traffic that a fire truck is about to exit the garage.
Honolulu Police Department -- Lieutenant Clinton Sukekane directed residents to review the hurricane/disaster preparedness tips in the distributed handout, which also included contact information for the community policing team.
Questions, comments and concerns followed: Driving While Intoxicated -- The number of drinks that a person can consume and safely operate a motor vehicle varies from person to person depending on a number of different factors, including prescription medication. There is a commercially available breathalyzer device, but it should not be entirely relied upon. Residents were advised to know their limits, and to avoid driving after consuming alcoholic beverages.
Lori Yamada arrived at 7:11 p.m.; eight (8) members present.
Board of Water Supply (BWS) -- Lorna Heller reported the following:
· May 2013 Water Main Break Report -- There was one (1) main break on Sierra Drive and one (1) main break on 27th Avenue.
· Water Quality Report -- The annual report will be mailed to residents by July 1, 2013. Digital copies are available at www.boardofwatersupply.com. Residents with questions may call 748-5041.
· Water quality report, annual (Copy from Kahaluu)
· Poster and Poetry Contest -- The winners of the contest have been selected, and the full list of winners is available on the BWS website. The winning entries are now on display at the Windward Mall, and will be moved to Kapolei Hale from July 2 - 25, 2013.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
1. BWS Customer Service -- It was requested that BWS follow up with customer service complaints. A customer reported having called regarding an unusually high bill, and never receiving word that the problem had been solved. Heller reported that BWS is trying to improve its customer service experience.
2. Water Source -- The majority of Honolulu's water supply comes from the Waianae aquifer.
3. St. Louis Heights Reservoir -- The reservoir was reportedly missing. Heller assured the Board that the reservoir is still there, but may be obscured by recent landscaping.
4. Water Main Breaks -- Infrastructure repair is included in the water bill.
Approval of the Regular Meeting Minutes -- Hoe moved and Schneider seconded to approve the May 15, 2013 regular meeting minutes as corrected. The motion WAS ADOPTED by UNANIMOUS CONSENT 8-0-0. (AYE: Bullock, Hoe, Moniz-Kahoohanohano, Kang, Leong, Schneider, Tam and Yamada.) Corrections include:
Page 1 -- Remove "Abigail Leong" from Members Present.
Treasurer's Report -- $39.56 was spent in the month of May, 2013 (.46 cents postage per piece), leaving a remaining balance of $561.88. The report was filed.
Kaimuki Traffic -- Edison Chuh requested that the City look into the possibility of making one-way streets in Kaimuki to improve traffic flow. The area was not designed to support the current population density.
Resident's Line of Sight -- Edison Chuh noted that development is progressing with little regard to existing properties' lines of sight. It was asked if there are any regulations to preserve residents' views.
Affordable Housing -- Leonard Tam reported that, according to the Star Advertiser, Honolulu is officially the least affordable housing market in the United States, noting that the average Honolulu home costs almost nine (9) years of a household's pretax income. Tam hypothesized that the City is intentionally raising property values to increase property tax revenue without having to increase the property tax rate.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
1. City Budget -- The 2013 City budget is the same as the 2012 budget, with an additional $70 million from the sale of City property.
2. Property Value -- The City is not responsible for property value fluctuations. It was noted that some property decreased in value. Property value is determined by area market value.
Boy Scouts of America -- A number of Boy Scouts were in the audience in pursuit of their citizenship badge.
New Neighborhood Board Term -- This meeting is the last of the 2011-2013 Board term. Leonard Tam will not be returning to serve on the Board in the 2013-2015 term. Residents were encouraged to volunteer for the vacancies on the Board at the July 2013 meeting.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative -- Michael Formby will no longer be serving as the Mayor's representative. Michael Wong of the Department of Information Technology (DIT) is the new Mayor's representative, but was unable to attend the meeting. His deputy Keith Ho reported the following in his stead:
· Kaimuki Avenue Traffic Signals -- The Department of Transportation Services (DTS) checked the signals along Kaimuki Avenue and found they were working properly. During the field check, DTS did not observe any major traffic backlog. Residents can contact the Traffic Signal Division at 768-8387.
· Royal Hawaiian Avenue Traffic Signals -- DTS has been monitoring the intersections and did observe traffic backing up along Kalakaua near the intersections with Royal Hawaiian avenue and Lewers Street during the weekends. DTS has adjusted the signal timing, and traffic is flowing smoother. It should be noted, the backup from the right turning vehicles from Kalakaua Avenue into Royal Hawaiian Avenue and Lewers Street has been significantly reduced due to the modification to the Barn's crossing.
· Overgrown Weeds -- Residents were advised to call the Customer Services Department at 768-8000, and they will direct the call to the appropriate department depending on the complaint.
· Kaimuki Avenue Potholes -- The potholes have been repaired. Residents were encouraged to call 768-7777 to report potholes.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
1. Utility Construction -- The construction near Kaimuki High School is disrupting traffic along the road.
2. Honolulu Community Development Authority (HCDA) -- It was asked if the Honolulu sewage system will have the capacity to handle the estimated 5,000 apartments being built in Kakaako.
3. Revenue Priority -- It was noted that Honolulu has a focus on generating revenue and an emphasis on development. It was requested that more efforts be put into maintaining existing neighborhoods.
4. Bus Shelters -- A bus shelter near Queen Liliuokalani School is in a state of disrepair.
5. Municipal Parking Lot -- A timeline was requested for the repair of the lot between 12th and Koko Head Avenues.
6. Homelessness -- Mayor Caldwell was praised for his new homeless initiative, and hope was expressed that the project will be effective, as the homeless population is affecting tourism.
7. Intersection of Waialae and Koko Head Avenues -- It was requested that right-turns on red be allowed at the intersection during certain times, as there is little traffic at off-peak hours.
8. Waialae Avenue Repaving -- It was requested that the repaving be concluded by November 2013 to allow for the annual Christmas Parade.
Councilmember Ann Kobayashi -- Councilmember Kobayashi reported the following:
· City Budget -- City Council approved the budget on June 5, 2013, with no increases to any taxes or fees. The cost of the bus pass has been increased to help restore bus services. City and State employees have been experiencing a five (5) percent cut in pay, which will be expiring. Mayor Caldwell had proposed $6 million for sidewalk repair in Waikiki, but only $1 million for the rest of the island. City Council changed the budget to distribute the money more evenly.
· Property Taxes -- Honolulu has the lowest property tax rate, which is used to pay for schools, prisons, and some hospital expenses. Property value has been increasing, though it was noted that a movie ticket used to cost 20 cents. All expenses are increasing.
· General Excise Tax (GET) -- The State uses the vast majority of the tax to supplement the other counties in the State, who have fewer sources of revenue.
· Homelessness -- Councilmember Kobayashi lamented that the money is available to purchase housing units for the homeless, but no community wants to have a homeless shelter in their district.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
1. Homelessness -- There are transient accommodations in Kaimuki, but in smaller units for between five (5) and eight (8) alienated youth. The smaller units require fewer permits.
2. Underground Utilities -- It was suggested creating an initiative to move electrical utilities underground to preserve residents' views.
3. Property Sale -- The City's property sale which generated $70 million for the budget resulted in no evictions, and has the stipulation that the housing must remain affordable. The majority of the funds will be used for debt relief.
4. HCDA Kakaako Development -- The City has no control over the Kakaako development, but it is bound by federal building codes, and HCDA must come to the City for its building permits.
5. Taxes and Fees -- It was noted that the State of New Hampshire is almost entirely funded by property tax, and has no sales tax or state income tax. Hawaii has innumerable taxes and fees, and it seems that the government is run less efficiently. A similar town meeting in New Hampshire would have considerably higher attendance. It was noted that there are 33 Neighborhood Boards, and some are better attended.
Councilmember Stanley Chang -- Micah Munekata reported the following:
· Salary Increases -- Councilmember Chang voted in favor of Resolution 13-88 which would reject the proposed salary increases for the City Council.
· Mau'umae Nature Park -- The Park is listed as "dog friendly," and Councilmember Chang has asked the park directors to be consistent with their signage.
· Intersection of 16th and Waialae Avenues -- Councilmember Chang has requested that DTS revisit and reassess the traffic signal at the intersection.
· Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) -- Several Kaimuki parks are being addressed in the City Budget.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
1. Intersection of 16th and Waialae Avenues -- There were differing opinions as to whether or not a dedicated left-turn signal should be installed at the intersection.
2. Personal Liberties -- One community member noted that the government should not be forcing residents to wear seatbelts or wear helmets, but noted that people who have a trailer hitch on their truck should have an adjusted bumper so as not to damage other vehicles.
Governor Neil Abercrombie's Representative -- Russell Kokobun reported the following:
· HCDA Kakaako Development -- A 2011 Environmental Impact Survey (EIS) found that the area has sufficient capacity for what is being planned. It was recommended inviting the HCDA director to the next Board meeting.
· Homelessness -- It was suggested inviting the State Homeless Coordinator to the next Board meeting.
· Legislature -- The Governor has until June 24, 2013 to submit a list of potential vetoes, though it seems unlikely that there will be very many. Any action on the bills must take place by July 9, 2013.
Senator Sam Slom -- No representative or report was available.
Senator Les Ihara Jr. -- Senator Ihara reported the following:
· Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) -- Senator Ihara was the only Senator to vote against the formation of the PLDC when it was first proposed, and it has now been repealed.
· Twenty-First Century Schools -- Senator Ihara voted in favor of the bill to allow public-private partnerships for early childhood education, though there is much work to be done with the details.
· Phased Archaeological Inventory Surveys (AIS) -- Senator Ihara will be working on a bill to repeal allowing phased AIS's, noting that it limits the options available when remains are found.
· HCDA Kakaako Development -- Senator Ihara took issue with the construction of 700 foot tall skyscrapers in Hawaii, noting that it will change the "sense of self" as an island community. Opposition to the development would require massive public outcry to have any effect.
· Federal Lawsuits -- There is a federal lawsuit relating to reapportionment and the disenfranchising of the military which Senator Ihara will be watching closely. There is another relating to open primaries, which will not require a candidate to affiliate with a party. This may be problematic as the two leading candidates may have the same political views.
Questions, comments and concerns followed: HCDA Kakaako Development -- HCDA is similar to the PLDC in that it would take a massive public outcry to repeal it. It was asked if the Caldwell Administration is in favor of the plans to build 20 condominiums on the property.
Representative Calvin K.Y. Say -- No representative or report was available.
Representative Bertrand Kobayashi -- Representative Kobayashi reported the following:
· Legislative Session -- When legislature is not is session, there is little to report in terms of action. The distributed newsletter provided highlights of the legislation passed in 2013.
· Town Meeting -- Over 70 people were in attendance at a town meeting on June 5, 2013, where the Kakaako development was discussed. There were opposing opinions on the density and height issues vs. the creation of more affordable workforce housing. Also discussed at the meeting was the issue of how the University of Hawaii (UH) can ensure better academic standing while contributing to economic development.
· Homelessness -- Representative Kobayashi noted that homelessness is a multi-faceted issue which will take considerable time and devotion to solve. There is a balance between providing homeless services and providing enforcement for rowdy, disruptive or obscene behavior.
· Homeless Workforce -- There were no volunteers to serve on the homeless workforce. The first meeting is July 1, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
· Zone Change Requests -- There was a request to change the height limit at a parcel on Kalakaua Avenue, and there was a request to rezone a parcel from General Preservation to Limited Industrial. These requests were discussed on June 12, 2013.
· Next Board Meeting: The next meeting of the Kaimuki Neighborhood Board No. 4 will be on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 7:00 p.m. at the Kaimuki Christian Church, Fellowship Hall, 1117 Koko Head Avenue.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:44 p.m.
Submitted By: Adam LeFebvre, Neighborhood Assistant
Reviewed By: Risé Doi Neighborhood Assistant
Reviewed and Finalized By: Lyle Bullock Jr., Chair
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