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Diamond Head Neighborhood Board Meeting February 2020 Minutes
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2020
ALA WAI CLUB HOUSE
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Richard Figliuzzi called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. A quorum was established with 15 members present. (Note - This 15-member Board requires eight (8) members to establish quorum and to take official Board action).
Members Present: Julia Allen, David Beutel, Richard Figliuzzi, Rene Julian, Mela Kealoha-Lindsey, Michelle Matson, Stefan Mrozewski, Bert Narita, Keolu Peralto, Don Persons, Jackson Sayama, Winston Welch, George West, Bruce Wong, and Linda Wong.
Guests: Captain Elden Tanaka, Firefighter Lance Ontai (Honolulu Fire Department); Officer Reid Nakamura, Lieutenant Tate Nojima, Sergeant W Scott, Lieutenant Taro Nakamura, (Honolulu Police Department); Cathy Betts (Governor David Ige's Representative); Walea Constantinau (Mayor Kirk Caldwell's representative); Ann Wong (Board of Water Supply); Cliff Kaneshiro, Councilmember Ann Kobayashi (Councilmember Ann Kobayashi's Office); Councilmember Tommy Waters; Senator Les Ihara Jr; Adrian Tam (Senator Stanley Chang's Office); Representative Scott Nishimoto, Emma Bulgan, Gerry Failano, (Representative Scott Nishimoto's Office); House Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say; Dave Watase, Barbra Armentrout, Franklin Chung, Karin Lynn, Dianne O'Steen, Robert Johnston, Gerry Failano, Tobert Soberano, Deborah Park, Ben Ho, Keilan Anderson, Kathy Inouye, Eric Ponor, Debi Rolfing, Mark Rolfing, Stephen Small, Josh Stinson, Adele Chong, Bob Lew, Skye Luque, Karen Uemoto, Randy Wakaki, Jeff Olin, Drew Matsumoto, Danielle Tucker, Greg Arakaki, Noah Koshi, Phil Koshi, Kolbe Irei, Grace Fukaya, Wendell Murakawa, Rachel Wang, Shiho Wang, Shayna Lu, Myah McDonald, Fannie Cline, Steve Holmes, Dr. Jim Anthony, Grace Anthony, Chris Fong, Tanner Cho, Christine Oleh, Paul Lindley, Bill Bekemeier, Mark Phillipson, Justin George, Doug Park, Nelson Tamayori, Charlene Tamayori, Tyler Tamayori, Boonthai Chanstavy, Peter Jung, Kie Ho Cynn, Arleen Velasco, Kathy Itchen, Choon James, Sean Connelly, Beverly Mau, Alex Alexander, John Wingard, Yaeko Windgard, Luciaro Minerbi, Michael Gillom, Becky Gardner, Pete Arnold, Carol Lu-Arnold, Janis Chang, Gunten Schwab, Amanda Stevens, Ned Stevens, Wesley Wailehua, John Moran, Rexie Kaino, Ron Kamine Jr, Ann Wong, Bruce Black, Carol Hoshiko, Daily Munai, Carolyn Tanaka (Residents); Lindon Valenciano (Neighborhood Assistant). Name was not included if not legible on the sign-in sheet.
Meeting Process and Policies: Chair Figliuzzi reminded everyone of the meeting process and policies for those wishing to speak on Resident and Community Concerns for anything not on the agenda. He added that anything requested to be added to the agenda for Board action at this meeting would require a 2/3 vote.
Additions to the Agenda: Chair Figliuzzi asked about additional agenda items, and Matson noted that several could be placed under existing reports, including the following: 5G Optic Cable Project during the Mayor's Representative's report; the Resolution to Protect O‘ahu's Ground Water Resources from Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks with the BWS report; State Legislation relating to tour helicopters and Congressman Case's federal helicopter regulation legislation update under the Tour Helicopter Safety and Noise report; and City Council legislation relating to building permits under the Planning and Zoning Committee report. Chair Figliuzzi noted that Senator Schatz's outreach team had been rescheduled for the March meeting, and he distributed a draft resolution regarding the 2020 Census for the Board's consideration.
Appreciation Letter: Chair Figliuzzi read a letter of appreciation from the Board for first responders, especially the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) in light of the recent tragedy, and that the Board is grateful to the first responders and offers their support. See attached.
Welcome: Chair Figliuzzi welcomed the new Board members and encouraged participation from all Board members.
Hearing no objections, Chair Figliuzzi deferred the official Board photo to later in the meeting.
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS
Honolulu Fire Department (HFD - Waikiki Station): Firefighter Lance Ontai reported the following:
• January 2020 Statistics: There were 6 structure fires, 6 nuisance fires, 19 activated alarms, 123 medical emergencies, 3 motor vehicle collisions with a pedestrian, 3 motor vehicle crashes, 1 mountain rescue, 1 ocean rescue, and 5 hazardous material (hazmat) incidents.
• Brush Fires: In 2019, there were 11 brush fires along Diamond Head Road.
• Hazmat Types: Ontai classified the types of Hazmat incidents as biological hazard incidents that were confirmed or suspected, chemical spill or leak, chemical hazard (no spill or leak), oil or other combustible liquid spill, gas leaks, and gasoline or other flammable liquid spill.
Safety Tip: Candle Safety: Candles may be pretty to look at, but they are a cause of home fires and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn. Extinguish all candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Avoid using candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Use candle holders that are sturdy and will not tip over easily. Do not burn a candle all the way down; extinguish the flame before it gets too close to the holder or container. Never use candles if oxygen is used in the home. Do not use candles during a power outage. Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns for lighting. Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles. Never leave a child alone in the room with a burning candle. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children's reach.Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. HFD Appreciation: Chair Figliuzzi expressed his appreciation for HFD and their service in addition to HPD's service.
2. Elevators: Peralto inquired if HFD has jurisdiction over expired elevator permits and Captain Tanaka responded that HFD does not oversee elevator permitting or inspect elevators other than inspecting and using them for fire service.
3. Statistics: L. Wong inquired for the record about the Hibiscus Drive fires and how many houses were burned, how many houses were destroyed, and how many fire companies responded. Captain Tanaka responded that he will bring statistics on the Hibiscus Drive incident next month.
4. Encampments: Matson noted continuing questions about the Diamond Head encampment brush fire on the Monument and near Diamond Head Beach Park, and asked for information on the brush fire incident in January. Captain Tanaka noted he did not have the updated information, but the 11 Diamond Head brushfires or cooking fires in 2019 happened between Coconut Avenue and Kahala Avenue along Diamond Head Road in the wild-land area.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD) - District 6 Waikiki/ Diamond Head): Officer Reid Nakamura thanked the Board for the heartfelt letter and the community for the tremendous support. He expressed gratitude for HFD, Emergency Medical Services, and other first responders for the joint efforts. Officer Nakamura reported the following:
• January 2020 Statistics: There were 4 robberies, 22 burglaries, 181 thefts, 42 unauthorized entries into motor vehicles (UEMV), 36 assaults, 3 sex crimes, 14 bicycle and skateboard on sidewalk citations, 20 speeding citations, 473 parking citations, 1 loud muffler citation, 14 park closure warnings, 106 park closure citations, and 5 park closure arrests. There were a total of 3,965 calls for service.
• Meet the Major Event: Meet the Waikiki Major Craig Uehira at Paki Hale from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
Questions, comments, and concerns:
1. Illegal Overnight Parking: Matson reported on the increase of tour vehicles and food trucks parking in Kapiolani Parkovernight along Monsarrat and Paki Avenues and their expansion into the auxiliary parking lot, and noted that this commercial vehicle storage is a violation of Kapiolani Park Trust provisions. She added that their removal had been successfully undertaken previously, and asked for an update at the Board's March meeting.
2. Bike/Skateboard Warnings/Citations/Arrests: Kealoha-Lindsey inquired and Lieutenant Nojima responded that warnings and citations are issued for the bike/skateboard use on sidewalks and arrests lead to criminal charges such as for defacing bicycle serial numbers.
3. Topgolf: Resident Jim Anthony inquired about agenda item VI for Topgolf and asked if HPD had been consulted about this $50 million project. Lieutenant Nojima responded that so far HPD has received no information on the project. Resident Anthony requested that HPD ensure that they are fully considered from the beginning regarding the project's implications for HPD.
4. Bike/Skateboard Prohibition: Resident Barbara Armentrout noted signs posted on Kapahulu Avenue prohibiting bicycling, skateboarding and skating on the sidewalk and Lieutenant Nojima confirmed this prohibition.
5. After-Hours Loitering: B. Wong reported a complaint from an 11th Avenue resident where Diamond Head Health Center patients are loitering in the area until late evenings, especially by cottages near 643 11th Avenue. Lieutenant Nojima referred this to HPD District 7, and Lieutenant Nakamura responded that HPD will follow up.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD - District 7 Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights): Lieutenant Taro Nakamura reported:
• January 2020 Statistics: There were 4 motor vehicle thefts, 15 burglaries, 39 thefts, and 13 UEMVs. There were a total of 5,932 total calls for service.
• Safety Tips: Pet-Friendly Shelter: Pet-friendly shelter locations were provided. Please be sure to bring proper pet supplies such as food, medical supplies, and an ID collar in case of separation.
• Appreciation: Lieutenant Nakamura expressed his appreciation for the community's support, especially the flowers sent by a neighborhood security watch.
Questions, comments, and concerns:
1. Transient Updates: Matson reiterated previous requests for enforcement updates relating to the Diamond Head transient encampments including dates and statistical counts, and asked how the Board could receive this information. Lieutenant Nakamura responded that he is only authorized to provide the information reported, and additional crime information can be found at www.honolulupd.org. Matson requested that the particular statistics be provided in future meetings, and Lieutenant Nakamura agreed that the Board could request this from HPD.
2. Pet Collars: Resident Armentrout inquired about the bill that City Council passed requiring microchips for pets, and Lieutenant Nakamura responded that the form from the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) states pets should have ID collars in the shelters.
Hearing no objections, Chair Figliuzzi moved to agenda item "Presentation regarding RFP-DES-1067805, ‘Topgolf'"
Matson requested that the memo from former Chair George West be read as a prelude to the presentation. Peralto inquired and Chair Figliuzzi clarified that they will be moving the Topgolf presentation and return to the agenda as usual.
Presentation Relating to RFP-DES-1067805 and "Top Golf"
Department of Enterprise Services (DES) Director Guy Kaulukukui presented the following:
• Project Background: The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) Director Guy Kaulukukui gave a background about DES jurisdiction and duties relating to Ala Wai Golf Course, adding that golf should be self-sustaining and not use general funds. He noted that due to the interest in golf decreasing and thus low revenue, DES sought proposals for other lines of revenue to sustain the municipal golf courses. Kaulukukui added that their intention was to offer more golf-related venues while increasing the interest in golf, thus they negotiated with Topgolf on a proposed lease of $1 million per year including a 1% of Topgolf's revenue for the golf course's enhancement. Kaulukukui reported that they are aware of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) flood mitigation project in the same area and will accommodate this as necessary.
Previous Request - West noted his March 2019 memo regarding Topgolf, and Matson read former Chair West's memo to Top Golf from Diamond Head Neighborhood Board #5, requesting that Top Golf become aware of and consider all cumulative impacts of their proposed project on the community and major projects in the area.
Devon Charhon, Topgolf's Director of Real Estate; Josh Stinson, The MacNaughton Group reported the following:
• Topgolf Update: Charhon provided a summary of community concerns regarding Top Golf lighting, nets, and noise; stating that their goal is to be a good neighbor. He noted that they can control the LED lighting to reduce light pollution to a 0.0 foot-candle reading on the ground from the nets by orienting the lights downward and inward away from the Ala Wai residential properties. Charhon noted that they can mitigate the noise by orienting the speaker system inward so the loudspeakers do not project noise from the open bays, and there are noise attenuation materials to dampen the noise. Charhon also noted that the height of the net poles and screening are safety measures, and TopGolf will do what is possible to mitigate the visual impacts. He noted that the poles can be painted to blend with the sky, and the nets are 93% transparent. He added that they are trying to re-engineer the Topgolf plan for this area because it is a unique situation without adjacent uses. Charhon noted that they want to make Topgolf accessible to local residents by creating programs including a free golf programs for youth and unlimited play on weekday mornings for $15 per half hour with unlimited golf balls. Charhon concluded that they are excited for this opportunity and will continue to listen to the concerns of the community.
Mark Rohlfing, a former golf commentator, expressed the following:
• Municipal Golf Sustainability: Resident Rolfing reiterated the long-term sustainability issue of municipal golf courses across the country, noting that municipal courses on the mainland are being sold to developers. Resident Rolfing added that it is also apparent that the entire 150 acres of the Ala Wai Golf Couse is of upmost importance as a key component to the forthcoming flood mitigation plan. He concluded that The Ala Wai Golf Course must remain an 18-hole golf course and it will if everyone works together.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed from the Public and Board members:
• Needed Funds: Resident Franklin Chung stated that he is a golfer and is looking forward to the revenue from Topgolf to assist with upgrading the Ala Wai municipal golf course as a golf course in the flood plain.
• Established Uses: Resident Bruce Black expressed the need to ensure that the Ala Wai area maintains its long-standing characteristics, and stated his concerns regarding how the Topgolf infrastructure will impact public parking and road usage with the increase of activity, especially for paddling community with 17 paddling clubs using the Ala Wai Canal. Kaulukukui responded that the land on the makai side of the access road will not be used for parking and that an additional parking facility is anticipated to be constructed to accommodate the usage increase. He added that Topgolf peak hours are at night and do not coincide with paddling hours.
• Protected Land: Resident Dr. Jim Anthony stated his clear opposition to the project, noting that he was unimpressed with the answers provided. He added that the city's $4.7 million golf course fund deficit is what drives this project and he likened it to the rail project. Resident Anthony pointed out that the golf course open space should be considered protected public trust land to be preserved for future generations. He concluded that the city official's answers cannot be trusted because they will change later, and he likened the community's opposition of the project to that of Mauna Kea.
• Toxic Runoff: Resident Maria Guardino, a public school teacher who had researched the Topgolf project, expressed her concerns regarding water pollution because synthetic turf will be used. She inquired if the liner's impermeability will cause the runoff to be drained into the Ala Wai Canal, and Charhon confirmed that synthetic turf will be used and the Topgolf design will include draining water runoff. Resident Guardino provided rain statistics, with every one inch (1") of rain generating 160,000 gallons of water runoff per inch from the 7.3-acre development site where the naturally absorbent grass will be replaced with impermeable synthetic turf, and noted the importance of the $340 million golf course flood mitigation project in the face of climate change compared to Topgolf's $1 million revenue offer to the city. Resident Guardino added that the synthetic turf traps bacteria and needs to be cleaned with toxic chemicals, which will drain into the Ala Wai Canal used by the canoe paddlers, and then to the recreational shoreline waters. She concluded that the land needs to be protected, not sold out.
• Project Incompatibility: Resident Fannie Cline, Neighborhood Security Watch, Diamond Head Beach Park coordinator, expressed her concerns of selling off public preservation property to the wealthy developers. She also noted that Topgolf developments have the most lawsuits across the nation for accidents and damages, in addition to lawsuits involving wage disputes from their own employees. Resident Cline stated that the city should conduct a nonbiased traffic study to determine the feasibility of this project, and Topgolf should have their own Environmental Impact Study (EIS) put in place. She concluded that when the USACE flood mitigation plans are properly defined the Ala Wai Golf Course flood plain will not be able to sustain the Topgolf project.
• Climate Change: Resident Lala Ness, Climate Resilience and Equity Manager for the city's Office of Sustainability, Climate Change and Resiliency, commented on climate change with increasing potential threats and catastrophes over the next 50 years, and a potential Topgolf lease on the flood plain land for 20 to 40 years, and inquired if Topgolf has dealt with similar flood plains, what are their sustainable practices, and are they working with cultural and ecological professionals. Charhon responded that they have worked in a flood plain and were required to provide compensatory storage, and Topgolf has used sustainable building materials. He noted that he can get more specifics from their construction unit, and that Topgolf will be conducting an EIS to evaluate their impact once the USACE flood mitigation plan is defined.
• Urban Sustainability: Resident Sean Connelly, a Harvard and UH graduate in environmental urban design, architect and urban ecologist, and author of the online sustainable urban resource Hawai‘i Futures, stated the Ala Wai Canal Centennial is in 2021, and the issue is what is needed for Hawaii's future. He noted that the Topgolf concept would not benefit Hawaii's future at this location, and inquired if DES had considered a business plan for the commercial viability of returning the golf course to an urban-scale kalo field. Kaulukukui responded that returning the golf course to a kalo field does not make sense, and the city has had no conversations about this.
• Community Protection: Resident Luciano Minerbi, a retired UH Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, noted that the USACE, state and city should cooperate to protect the community by fully studying the need to retain Ala Wai Golf Course for flood protection of the entire area, and a comprehensive EIS is needed. He concluded that the solution will require integrating flood control engineering with environmental management and pollution abatement, and the Topgolf development proposal is a premature project. Kaulukukui responded that municipal golf is a recreational service provided by the city, and the Ala Wai Golf Course is the city's most profitable golf course and will remain a golf course. He noted that Topgolf is not mutually exclusive from serving the flood mitigation plan for the community and being more than just playing golf and maintaining a golf course.
• Conflicting Interests: Resident Mark Phillipson expressed concerns with the $50 million Topgolf development being proposed during USACE flood mitigation studies. He noted that Topgolf is called cocktail golf because it is an entertainment experience, with target practice, drinks and food followed by a $200 bill. He added that the cost of Topgolf to the present driving range users who do not go there to drink and eat needs to be addressed, along with only 1% of gross sales going back to the city that needs improvement.
• Usage: Resident Sidney Lynch inquired who will use the Topgolf facility and whether this is intended for Waikiki tourists or for local people, and noted if this is intended for local people there are other municipal golf courses on the island
where more local people would have better access. Resident Lynch additionally inquired if the city's $4.7 million annual golf deficit was for only Ala Wai Golf Course, or a total for all of the city's municipal golf courses. Kaulukukui responded that the $4.7 million deficit is for all the municipal golf courses in the city's whole division. Resident Lynch additionally inquired about following:
• The city's $1 million annual revenue from Topgolf replacing the $500,000 annual revenue from the present driving range, therefore only generating $500,000 toward the $4.7 million golf course deficit;
• The usage statistics projected from 100 target bays seating 6 people as a capacity of 600 people per hour compared to the present number of people using the golf course, and how many daily golfers will be able to use the golf course as it is presently being used;
• Who the Topgolf customers will be and where will they be coming from, and what their usage impacts will be on the present public property;
• How much additional parking will be needed; and
• What Topgolf's hours of business operations will be.
Kaulukukui responded that the $1 million annually is 10% of the city's municipal golf $10 million municipal golf budget, and Lynch noted this is only $500,000 more than the current driving range revenue. Kaulukukui added that the additional 1% of Topgolf's annual gross revenue for 20 years is a good addition. Charhon responded that Topgolf has a broad demographic he expects the whole island to be utilizing Topgolf. He added that Topgolf has over 400,000 visits annually at their other locations, and noted that their hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. to this venue. Chair Figliuzzi inquired and Charhon repeated that Topgolf venues average 400,000 visitors annually. Lynch inquired and Charhon responded that the Ala Wai projection is above 400,000 mostly local people.
• Negative Impacts: Resident Karin Lynn inquired and Kaulukukui responded that the Ala Wai Golf Course was focused on because it is the only one of the six (6) municipal golf courses with a driving range space without golf holes. Resident Lynn inquired about this golf course use being compromised, and expressed her concerns about following:
• The 70 feet high net screening equivalent to 17 stories high with 93% transparency that is not transparent and significantly affects the view plane;
• The field lights, because on the mainland the lights can be seen well beyond the nets from the distance;
• Operational hours until midnight impacting nearby residents.
Charhon and Kaulukukui responded that they are looking at alternative heights for the net poles, and Kaulukuki noted that they restricted Topgolf to the same operational hours as the current driving range.
• Preservation Zone: Resident Carolyn Tanaka inquired of Matson, and Matson responded that the Ala Wai Golf Course is not part of the Kapiolani Park Trust, but is zoned P-2 preservation land and this proposed project is considered a commercial development. Matson noted that the Ala Wai Golf course recreational open space is owned and set aside by the State and is under City management as a golf course. She added that the Topgolf proposal would need to go through a stringent EIS and review process to be approved by multiple State and City entities. Kaulukukui agreed and noted that a lot of oversight is still needed and the lease needs approval, adding that it is a public process where there will be additional opportunities for community input.
• Employees and Turf Conditions: Kealoha-Lindsey inquired and Charhon responded that Topgolf will be using utilizing local contractors for construction, and will be hiring 475 employees for the venue, 95% of which will be from O ‘ahu. He referred to a memo on economic impact, and Matson clarified that the Board's memo request was to define the cumulative physical impacts of the development on the community, not Topgolf's focus of economic impact. Kealoha-Lindsey also inquired and Charhon responded that Topgolf is using synthetic turf because of sustainability to maintain the field and pristine aesthetics after repeated ball collections. He added that contouring the hard impervious surface guides the golf balls to the targets to equalize the game between skilled golfers and non-golfers.
• Revenue and Flood Plains: Sayama inquired about the amount of Topolf's annual sales revenue and how the city's cut of 1% was set from annual growth sales. Charhon responded that as a private company, they do not disclose their sales. revenue. Sayama also inquired about Topgolf's specific projects working with flood plains. Charhon responded that Topgolf developed on a flood plain in Nashville, Tennessee, which included compensatory storage upstream. Kaulukukui clarified that 2% of the estimated construction costs would be paid to the City upon access and during construction until opening, and 1% of annual gross revenue paid thereafter, adding that the gross revenue percentage is usually not a big number and ranges between 1% to 3%.
• Shortfall: Mrozewski noted that he golfs at Ala Wai Golf Course and has a neutral position on the Topgolf proposal, however he agreed that 1% of the annual gross revenue is insufficient. He calculated that 500,000 annual visits at $40 each would generate $20 million; and with 1% of the gross revenue, i.e., $200,000, to the city plus the $1 million base rent, the city's profit less the $500,000 presently generated by the driving range would be only $700,000 annually, which is insufficient because the city could be extracting more.
• Traffic and EIS: Peralto questioned the year's lapse in Topgolf returning to the Board with answers for the community, and expressed concerns about compounded traffic congestion in the Board's Subdistrict 2 Kapahulu area and the
absence of an EIS as brought up by many community members. Peralto inquired if the Topgolf idea was initiated by the city, and Kaulukukui responded that the City sought out proposals in order to generate revenue.
• Deficit and Entertainment: West noted that this project is motivated by commercial activity to generate revenue to help the City to reduce the overall municipal golf budget shortfall of over $4.5 million, and while the Ala Golf Course is profitable more is needed to reduce the deficit. He added that if the target demographics are mostly locals, then they could build this at other golf courses. West noted that Topgolf is not seen as golf, but an entertainment venue instead and it should be promoted as such. He added that Resident Rolfing noted that visitor play subsidizes affordable local golfing rates, however visitor play has decreased because the interest in golf has declined over the years with increased costs and reduced revenues. West concluded that Topgolf cannot be seen as a savior for turning around the decline in golf, or promoted as such.
• Cumulative Impacts: Matson expressed concerns regarding the single-dimensional presentation illustration of the proposed Topgolf site plan, noting that it does not illustrate the height or density of the proposed project. She listed the following concerns:
• Increased traffic congestion on Kapahulu Avenue, at the traffic signal bottle neck at the Library, and on the access road to the canoe paddling clubs and Ala Wai Golf Course, and the absence of a comprehensive traffic studies were conducted with projections of how the additional traffic would choke the area;
• Additional parking accommodations for Topgolf's 500,000 annual customers and 475 employees, and the size and location of the parking facility necessary to accommodate this increase;
• Target spotlights mounted on a 60-foot high Topgolf facility and the negative impacts on nearby residences and facilities including Iolani School;
• Rezoning this Diamond Head Special District preservation zone for commercial development;
• Obstructing the significant Diamond Head and Ala Wai Canal view planes that are designated as protected in the City ordinance for the primary urban center.
Matson concluded instead of promoting gaming, bars and restaurants for economic development in a preservation zone, that Topgolf has a lot of due diligence to perform, and the proposed project's fast-tracking is a concern.
• Karst System: Narita expressed his concerns of light mitigation and the perimeter net fence height because. He added that this area is undermined with limestone caves, a karst system which is a part of the aquifer, and noted that the City assured the community that the karst system would not be destroyed during construction of the elevated rail in the 'Ewa plain, however the limestone was punctured and it was difficult to correct the damage. Narita asked if Topgolf can assure the community that Topgolf will not puncture and compromise the natural aquifer below this area, and asked how this project's large area of impermeable cover will be affected by the City's storm water utility tax now under consideration.
• Alternate Location: Welch noted that Topgolf is presented as a done deal and inquired if residents in the area were surveyed on their position relating to Topgolf and what is appropriate for the area, because they need updates and more information to engender trust. Welch noted that thousands of people in the area will be affected, and there are concerns of intrusive light and noise, alcohol control and enforcement, view plane destruction, and undermining Diamond Head Special District protective zoning. He suggested that Topgolf work with the O‘ahu community and the Board to find an alternate location because this project could adversely change the quality and character of this area. Welch added that if Topgolf is truly seeking 400,000 local users in the appropriate location to charge $50 an hour for only one (1) hour and generate $800 million over 40 years, the public should be involved in finding the appropriate location. Kaulukukui responded that Topgolf has not been fast-tracked and that this is just a starting point, and the community will receive more information about the plan as DES and Topgolf move forward.
• Waikiki Expansion: L. Wong noted that she has been on the Board for over 24 years and Waikiki has been trying to expand across Ala Wai Canal every several years, and this appears to be another venue for this purpose. She expressed her concerns about Topgolf's ability to mitigate traffic with the influx of people because the area is already too congested. Wong also noted all that needs to be worked out on the Ala Wai flood mitigation plan. She concluded Topgolf is not workable at this location, and people want to keep what remains on O‘ahu that is still Hawai'i.
• Community Impacts and Charges: Julian agreed with Welch that it appears decisions already have been made, but it is best to ask the community about their position on the project in order to move forward or not. He added that even though Topgolf cannot disclose their revenue, simple calculations show that 1% is not enough from the expected 400,000 to 500,000 annual patrons and $40 to $50 per hour price range, to compensate for the overall picture of increased impacts to the community, including the community turmoil of more HPD DUI calls; more traffic, bottlenecks and accidents; and the overall visual impacts. Charhon clarified that the Topgolf price for each of the 100 target bays not $40 or $50 per person, but for utilizing the bay for up to six (6) people.
• Flood Plain and Entertainment: B. Wong noted looking forward to Topgolf since he is a golfer, however his main concern is the Ala Wai flood plain and how the flood waters would be managed with a reservoir and chemical containment. He likened Topgolf to bowling as an entertainment venue, and noted that it could deter homeless with the lights and could vibrantly enhance the community. Resident Rolfing commented that the Ala Wai Golf Course flood plain situation
requires an understanding of the ramifications of where the flood waters currently travel and where they could potentially travel in a catastrophic event. He noted that the golf course is 150 acres, which is large for a municipal golf course and provides the opportunity to develop and accommodate the flood mitigation plan. He added that Topgolf is watching the flood mitigation plan evolve and waiting to adjust the 7.3-acre Topgolf project, because the Ala Wai Golf Course should pro-actively help the flood mitigation plan. Kaulukukui agreed that the Ala Wai Golf Course is necessary for flood mitigation, and flood mitigation is insurance for the future. He added that Topgolf is an investment in revenue for the City and growing the game.
• Flood Management and Lighting Requirements: Beutel echoed the concerns about flood management and the Topgolf impervious surface and runoff into the Ala Wai Canal. He also inquired about the target lights meeting specific requirements with no light shining outside the fence line, and asked if this would be guaranteed in a written agreement between Topgolf and the City. Charhon responded that Topgolf can provide their lighting plan from the lighting studies and photometric plan for existing venues. Kaulukukui responded that a light study was not a specific requirement in the RFP that will become part of the lease agreement and binding contract between the City and their RFP partner. Kaulukukui added that his understanding was the Topgolf field lighting will be less intrusive than the current driving range lights and Iolani School. Charhon added that Topgolf will comply with all lighting standards and permitting as done for every Topgolf venue.
• Endangered Species: Allen expressed her concerns about birds hitting the high perimeter net during the day and that the lights at night attracting bugs which in turn will attract rare Hawaiian hoary bats, and emphasized that this is important issue. Charhon responded that he appreciated this information and will follow up.
• Congestion and Carrying Capacity: Persons noted that every event in this area gravitates to Kapiolani Park, and it is already too dense to include more activity and traffic, which is gridlocked on Kapahulu Avenue and Ala Wai Boulevard between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. He concluded that the area is beyond its capacity in tourism, and Topgolf is another tourist venue. Persons added that if Topgolf is intended for local people, then it belongs in a more central location to serve all of O'ahu's residents.
STATE AND CITY ADMINISTRATION REPORTS
Governor David Ige's Representative: Chair Figliuzzi noted that Kathy Betts provided a letter from Scot Morishige, Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness (GCH), attached.
Julian left the meeting at 8:30 p.m., 14 members present.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative: Walea Constantinau, Honolulu Film Office, reported the following relating to Board concerns expressed previously:
• Kapiolani Sidewalk: Constantinau that Kapiolani Park sidewalks are being maintained and repaired within park facilities and typically any new sidewalk projects would be part of a Capital Improvement project implemented by DDC to ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act and other requirements.
• Leahi Beach Park Gate: The Leahi Beach Park gate restricting access to the Makalei Beach Park sea wall has been removed by the City and proper signage is being posted.
• Orange Construction Netting: The orange netting on Kapahulu Avenue is part of a temporary construction base yard for the Ala Wai dredging project, however a smaller portion of netting along the Ala Wai Golf Course fence has been removed.
• Kapahulu Avenue Maintenance: A number of sidewalk and trash maintenance issues requested to be addressed by the City have been completed.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Hibiscus Drive Statistics: Chair Figliuzzi inquired about tragic losses and results of the Hibiscus Drive incident. Constantinau noted the tremendous community support for first responders HPD and HFD in light of this tragic event.
2. Kapahulu Crosswalk Safety Protections: Peralto requested statistics on the marked crosswalk by Mokihana Street in front of Safeway on Kapahulu Avenue in between traffic lights. His concern is safety, and he requested a pedestrian marker or flashing lights at that location.
3. Dangerous Street Narrowing: Matson reiterated the Board's safety concerns relating to the Winam Street intersection at Mooheau Avenue. She pointed out that the road narrows at the intersection because residents' cars are parked on the right side of the road, turning it into one lane on the left side and making it dangerous for traffic turning at the busy intersection. She requested that the existing No Parking sign be moved back to the next driveway where the road widens in order to alleviate this problem and ensure safer conditions.
4. Seawall Fence and Gate: L. Wong noted that the Makalei/Leahi Beach Park situation was coming up on the agenda should be discussed further because there was a lot of community effort and involvement invested in this issue. She added that she also wanted to ask first responders about the Hibiscus Drive incidents
5. Makaleka/Date Street Monster Home: West inquired about the status and any updated information relating to the monster home on Makaleka and Date Streets. He reported that the monster house had been constructed without permits and was consequently being considered by the City for demolition, but is now completed.
6. Topgolf Proposal: Welch inquired if DES could be asked by the Mayor's office to provide a step-by-step monthly Topgolf update for the Mayor's report to the Board. Constantinau agreed to convey this request to DES Director Kaulukukui.
Constantinau introduced Department of Facilities and Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura to answer questions relating to the forthcoming Fiber-Optic Cable Project planned from Kapahulu to Kahala.
Matson asked if Congressman Case's report could be provided first given his representative's present time constraints.
Hearing no objections, Chair Figliuzzi moved the order of the agenda to Congressman Ed Case's report.
ELECTED OFFICIALS REPORTS
Congressman Ed Case: Congressman Case's representative Kathy Bryant highlighted his Quarterly Report, including three bills relating to the Jones Act, and bills strengthening tour helicopter regulations and defending against invasive pests and diseases. She reported that she attended a helicopter task force meeting on Wednesday, February 12, and noted that the task force is attempting to coordinate a series of community meetings relating to continuing tour helicopter concerns.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
• Helicopter Legislation: Matson inquired about the status of the federal remedial legislation relating to tour helicopters, and Bryant responded that the legislation currently is still pending committee review.
Chair Figliuzzi returned the order of the agenda to the City's Fiber-Optic Cable Project Report.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative, cont'd:
• Fiber-Optic Cable Project: Department of Facility Maintenance Director and Chief Engineer, Ross Sasamura, distributed a handout relating to the fiber-optic cable installation project describing the scope of the project and a map to illustrate the route of the work, with the cable alignments running along Kalakaua Avenue on the makai side from the Kapiolani Boulevard intersection at the Convention Center; turning mauka up Kapahulu Avenue to the Waikiki Fire Station; and looping to Diamond Head Road and Kahala Avenue to Kealaolu Avenue in Kahala. Sasamura explained. He noted that that the City's contractor will be digging micro trenches that will be eight (8) inches deep and only two (2) inches wide. Sasamura added that the City's intention is to engage with a third party to construct, operate, and maintain the fiber-optic transmission system, noting that the City can dedicate individual fiber-optic strands within the cable for the City's use and the third party's use to generate revenue to recover their construction, operation and maintenance costs. He concluded that this project will assist the City with data transfer and communications relayed quickly especially for first responders, and will include security cameras, traffic cameras and other future devices.
Questions, comments, and concerns:
• Timeline and Trenching: Matson inquired and Sasamura responded that they are ready for bids, with construction to be initiated in the summer. Matson also inquired and Sasamura responded that the Kahala area will consist of a mix of overhead and micro trenching, adding that the cable will be overhead on existing utility poles in the Diamond Head area. Matson noted that Diamond Head is a National Natural Landmark and State Historic Monument, and recommended that the utility poles.be removed and the lines be buried during the micro-trenching for the cable installation. Sasamura responded that this could be done with future undergrounding of utilities. Matson inquired and Sasamura responded that the fiber-optic cable will not be routed through Kapiolani Park.
• Connectivity and 5G Support: Beutel inquired and Sasamura responded that the fiber-optic cable will not go through Kapiolani Park because it will be routed to provide connectivity where there is no current path of fiber optics to increase capacity and bandwidth through Waikiki and around Diamond Head crater. Beutel inquired if the fiber-optic cable would relate to cellular phone use, and Sasamura responded that the fiber optics assist in providing enough bandwidth for 5G support and the City is looking into leasing Honolulu street light poles for 5G communications requiring the fiber-optic bandwidth, due to cellular phone customer demand for high data use for entertainment such as live streaming. Beutel inquired and Sasamura responded that fiber optic connections are available elsewhere on the island from different providers, such as Spectrum and Hawaiian Telecom and possibly others in the future.
• Project Funding: Mrozewski inquired and Sasamura responded that the project is not ready for bids yet, and there will be both active and dark fiber-optic cores in the cable dedicated for city use. Sasamura added that the third party will absorb all costs of construction, operation and maintenance and at the end of the contract term the asset will still belong to the City for whatever purposes are needed.
• Effects on Trees: Welch inquired about any anticipated routing impacts on trees, and Sasamura responded that none are expected because the trenching will be only eight (8) inches deep within the existing paved roadway.
• Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs): Matson inquired about aerial impacts including EMF risks and any tree removal required for unobstructed 5G signals. Sasamura responded that there will be no tree removal or trimming for 5G other than the usual maintenance trimming near street light poles. He added that EMFs from fiber optics is not a concern because fiber utilizes light within the sealed cable for transmission, and no radiation or radio waves are emitted, however 5G equipment does have transmitters and receivers that must comply, with FCC EMF regulations to maintain the health of people around it.
• Kapiolani Park Fountains Update: Chair Figliuzzi inquired about DFM's progress on the Dillingham and Thurston Triangle Fountain repairs. Sasamura responded that DFM is working on the Dillingham Fountain and will provide an update for the March meeting He added that for further information or more questions on the fiber-optic cable project please call DFM at 808-768-3343.
OTHER RESIDENTS' and COMMUNITY INTERESTS and CONCERNS:
Pickleball: Chair Figliuzzi noted that Pickleball could be a possible agenda item for next month.
Rate Commission: Resident Armentrout, a member of the City's Rate Commission, reported that public meetings are being scheduled by the Rate Commission to consider rate changes to both The Bus and future rail transit, and written input from the community may be sent to email@example.com, "Attention: Rate Commission."
Ala Wai Flood Mitigation Events Update: Resident Dave Watase noted that Protect Our Ala Wai Watershed is hosting their "Aloha the Ala Wai" event at Ala Wai Community Park on Sunday, February 16, 2020, to provide information about flood mitigation and an Ala Wai cleanup.
Board of Water Supply (BWS): Chair Figliuzzi read the report provided by BWS:
• Detect-A-Leak Week: As part of Detect-A-Leak Week from Monday, March 16, 2020 to Sunday, March 22, 2020 BWS encourages residents to monitor leaks to save water, lower water bills, and prevent potential damage. Dye kits are available at BWS main office, all satellite city halls, and all Hardware Hawaii locations.
• Water Conservation Week Poster and Poetry Contest: The deadline for submissions is on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.
Red Hill Fuel Storage Tanks: Matson noted that the Red Hill Fuel Storage Tanks Resolution, which was distributed before the meeting to all Board members by the Neighborhood Assistant, would be deferred to the March meeting.
Councilmember Ann Kobayashi: No representative was present, and no monthly report was provided.
Councilmember Tommy Waters: Councilmember Waters reported the following:
• Crime Town Hall: Councilmember Waters highlighted his newsletter, noting he and Senator Moriwaki is hosting a town hall meeting on crime at Jefferson Elementary on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
• Expediting Permits: Resolution 20-40, relates to DPP to expediting rebuilding permits for those effected by the Hibiscus Drive incident. Councilmember Waters noted that Hibiscus Drive residents are bothered by the increase in pedestrian traffic, and urged everyone to be respectful.
• Diamond Head Road Speed Bumps: Councilmember Waters has submitted a second Request for Investigation and Service Report (RISR) to the Department of Transportation Services to expedite the installation of speed bumps near Makalei Beach Park.
• Pickle Ball: The Diamond Head tennis courts will be lined to accommodate for the pickle ball tournament.
• Diamond Head Transient Encampments: More enforcement is needed at Diamond Head because of illegal activity.
• Kapiolani Park Trustees: Councilmember Waters noted that he is a Kapiolani Park Trustee together with all City Councilmembers, and reported that the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) needs to maintain the grass where children play in prickly weeds and is in dire need of beautification.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Homeless: Chair Figliuzzi read a memo from the Governor's representative regarding transient encampments at Diamond Head. The State and the City are working on a joint enforcement sweep in March 2020. Call 586-0193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report concerns. Chair Figliuzzi noted that the Department of Health (DOH) crisis hotline at 832-3100 is available 24/7.
2. Coronavirus: Chair Figliuzzi noted a memo received by the Board containing Coronavirus prevention tips.
3. Joint Enforcement Action: Matson inquired and Chair Figliuzzi clarified that the next Diamond Head transient encampment enforcement action is scheduled sometime during March 2020. Councilmember Waters noted that social workers will be available to provide services including mental health resources. Chair Figliuzzi mentioned his encounters over time with a homeless female on 1st and Waialae Avenues, adding that he needs to discuss the situation with Homeless Coordinator Morishige.
4. Kapiolani Park Trust: Kealoha-Lindsey inquired about the policies for Kapiolani Park, and whether the City and County sets the usage parameters or if the Trustees can set policy. She clarified that some event applications that are approved are not appropriate for the Park. Councilmember Waters responded that he was new to the Trustees' fiduciary duties and deferred to Matson, noting that he would look into this. Matson requested clarification of the uses of concern, as this would help determine the policy source. Kealoha-Lindsey responded that event facilitation is now conducted by lottery for some parks, such as craft fairs where permittees are replaced by others who are not bona fide non-profits without sufficient notice, who use the park commercially for profit, thus illegally and without accountability by the park permits division.
5. After-Hours Loitering: B. Wong reported that the Diamond Head health clinic on Kilauea Avenue is impacting the neighborhood because homeless patients are loitering around the area and living in their cars after hours near the sheltered parking lot, and impacting residential neighbors in the vicinity of 643 11th Avenue, and he recommended installation of a fence to protect the area.
6. Monster Homes: Relating to West's concerns about monster homes in the district, Councilmember Waters agreed that the City Council should revisit the monster home laws.
7. Makalei/Leahi Beach Seawall: Councilmember Waters noted the issue regarding the Makalei/Leahi Beach seawall fence and gate because the City Council wrote the Mayor asking about the absence of a Special Management Area Permit approval for their installation, and the reply was that this is either private property or State property , and if this is the case why did the City pay the 2018 seawall walkway injury settlement. L. Wong commended the community's and City Council's efforts along with the media's interest regarding the blocked seawall walkway, noting that this set a precedent for blocking beach access and was understandably removed by the City administration before tonight's Board meeting.
Senator Les Ihara Jr.: Due to time restraints, Senator Ihara was available for questions:
1. Senate Bill (SB) 42: Narita inquired about SB 42, relating to protecting non-profits and shielding them from the Attorney General's scrutiny. Senator Ihara noted that he is a member of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs that received the bill, and responded that SB42 was very broad in limiting the Attorney General's powers and was amended, noting that the Hawaiian Association for Non-profit Organizations (HANO) President testified that it is not illegal for a 501-c-3 non-profit organization to occasionally donate to nonviolent civil disobedience. He added that the bill goes to the Judiciary Committee next. He noted that the Attorney General may have legitimate reasons but was perceived by the non-profit community as unfriendly.
2. Non-Profit Profits: Narita noted the public's concerns about the current trend of public-private partnerships (P3) and non-profits like Biki, and expressed his concerns about the Legislature shielding non-profits because this sets a bad trend. He pointed out that this Board has been seeking answers from for-profit Bikeshare Inc and it's non-profit subsidiary Biki, and the answers were never received because the accountings were shielded in their for-profit arm and restricted from public scrutiny. Narita concluded that this is administrative maneuvering to keep the public in the dark. Senator Ihara responded that if the core issue is an allegation of wrong-doing and violation of law, sometimes control is lost when public assets are privatized because the open-records Sunshine Law does not extend beyond government agencies, and government does not have access into the private arena unless a subpoena is issued.
3. P-3 Gross Sales: Chair Figliuzzi noted the preceding Topgolf presentation during which the Board was informed that this prospective City tenant would not disclose their gross sales.
Senator Stanley Chang: Adrian Tam from Senator Chang's office distributed a newsletter and reported the following:
• Newsletter: Tam summarized that the newsletter highlights many of the bills that will be considered during the 2020 Legislative Session.
• Double Referral Deadline: Today is the double referral deadline when all bills with two or more committee hearings should be on their way to the final committee for consideration in their originating chamber.
• Senate Bill 2649: SB 2649 relating to tour helicopter safety has passed the Senate Committee on Transportation and is on its way to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Senate Tour Helicopter Bill SB2649: Matson noted that SB 12649 will require State Airport facility and land use permits for tour helicopters to require helicopter floatation devices and FAA-required Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADSB) activation at all times for tracking purposes. She explained that presently only the FAA is able to access this information, and the public also needs accessibility to the data because the Flight Radar 24 tracking app has become insufficient by using helicopter operator codes to replace required aircraft identification N-numbers. Matson noted that the final House committee hearing for SB 2549 may be delayed, and suggested that Senator Chang urge Senator Baker to schedule her committee hearing sooner rather than later, noting that nineteen (19) Neighborhood Boards have adopted Resolutions relating the tour helicopter concerns.
2. Aloha Stadium Redevelopment Bill SB2645: Sayama inquired about SB 2645, relating to Aloha Stadium redevelopment, and asked if Senator Chang considers 120%-140% Average Median Income (AMI) affordable. Tam responded that the amended version, SB 3104 considers that 140% AMI is not affordable, and this has been replaced with 80% AMI.
Representative Bertram Kobayashi: No representative was present, and no monthly report was provided.
Narita departed the meeting at 9:28 p.m., 13 members present.
Representative Scott Nishimoto: In interest of time, Representative Nishimoto distributed his House District Newsletter and summarized the following:
• Town Hall Meeting: Representative Nishimoto along with other elected officials will be conducting a Legislative Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Washington Middle School at 5:30 p.m.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Town Hall Meeting Participants: Chair Figliuzzi inquired and Representative Nishimoto responded that the elected officials participating in the district's Town Hall meeting will be Councilmember Kobayashi. Senator Ihara, Senator Moriwaki, and Representative Belatti, Speaker Emeritus Say and himself.
2. Tour Helicopter Bill HB1907: Matson summarized House Bill 1907 (HB1907), relating to requiring FAA-approved tour aircraft instrument flight ratings and certification for all tour helicopter operators and their pilots permitted to use State Airports land and facilities. Representative Nishimoto noted signing onto Representative Nakamura's Kaua‘i tour helicopter bill, and Matson responded that this along with some other tour helicopter bills had not progressed through their hearing deadlines. Representative Nishimoto inquired and Matson responded that Representative Quinlan and several other Representatives introduced HB 1907,. and requested that Representative Nishimoto encourage the House Committee on Judiciary's Chair Lee to also schedule HB 1907 for hearing sooner than later.
House Speaker Emeritus (HSE) Calvin Say: HSE Say distributed his House District Newsletter and reported the following:
• Cleanup: A cleanup at Palolo Recreation Center is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Jared Gymnasium.
1. Chair Figliuzzi thanked HSE Say and expressed looking forward to the cleanup.
PUBLIC EVENTS AND NOTICES:
March of Dimes Annual March for Babies Walk: The March of Dimes representative announced the March of Dimes 50th Anniversary and the March of Dimes March for Babies Walk in Kapiolani Park on Saturday, April 18, 2020, with the walk beginning on the makai side of the Kapiolani Park Bandstand.
The Neighborhood Assistant left the meeting at 9:30 p.m.
Next Regular Board Meeting: The next regular Board meeting will be at Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
ADJOURNMENT: Chair Figliuzzi adjourned the meeting at 9:33 p.m.
Submitted by: Lindon Valenciano, Neighborhood Assistant
Reviewed by: Christopher Naylon, Public Relations
Reviewed by: Michelle Matson, NB#5 Secretary
Finalized by: Winston Welch, Vice Chair
‘Olelo February 13, 2020 Board Meeting Video: http://olelo.granicus.com/player/clip/75853?view_id=78
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