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Diamond Head Neighborhood Board Meeting March 2020 Minutes
THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020
ALA WAI CLUB HOUSE
CALL TO ORDER: Vice Chair Winston Welch called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. A quorum was established with eight (8) members present. (Note: This 15-member Board requires eight (8) members to establish quorum and to take official Board action).
Members Present: Julia Allen, John Beutel, Rene Julian, Mela Kealoha-Lindsey, Michelle Matson (arrived at 6:58 p.m.), Stefan Mrozewski (arrived at 8:32 p.m.), Jackson Sayama, Winston Welch, George West, Bruce Wong, and Linda Wong (arrived at 6:41 p.m.).
Members Absent: Richard Figliuzzi, Bert Narita, Keolu Peralto, and Don Persons.
Guests: Captain Albert McCollum (Honolulu Fire Department); Sergeant Romero, Corporal Kadoi, and Lieutenant Lowell (Honolulu Police Department); Walea Constantinau (Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative); Jeff Herzog (United States Army Corps of Engineers); Kathy Bryant, Justin Lee, and Maya Abarca (Senator Schatz's Office); Representative Bertrand Kobayashi; House Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say; Senator Les Ihara Jr.; Dave Watase, Barbra Armentrout, Franklin Chung, Gerry Faulano, Antonio, Wendy Lum, Joana Kealoha, Peter Kealoha, Charmain Wong, Scott Ballentyne, Arleen Velasco, Jay Ishibasus, Beckiy Gardner, Mike Breds, and C. Watanabe (Residents); Jackson Coley (Neighborhood Commission Office). Name was not included if not legible on the sign-in sheet.
Coronavirus: Vice Chair Welch encouraged residents to work together and take care of each other during the coronavirus outbreak.
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS
Honolulu Fire Department: Captain Albert McCollum reported the following:
• February 2020 Statistics: There were 3 structure fires, 1 wildland/brush fire, 1 nuisance fire, 1 cooking fire, 13 activated alarms, 121 medical emergencies, 1 motor vehicle collision with a pedestrian, 1 motor vehicle crash, 1 mountain rescue at Diamond Head Crater, 6 ocean rescues, and 1 hazardous material (hazmat) incident.
• Safety Tip: Home Fire Sprinklers: The following information was provided regarding home fire sprinklers:
o General Information: Fire sprinklers respond quickly and effectively to fire. The National Fire Protection Association reported that sprinklers reduced fire deaths by 83% and property loss in homes by 69%.
o Myths and Facts: Myth; all fire sprinklers will activate at once. Fact: Systems are designed so the sprinkler head closest to the fire is activated. Myth: Fire sprinklers cause a lot of water damage. Fact: Typically, sprinklers utilize 13 to 18 gallons of water per minute. Firefighting hoses flow at least 10 times that of sprinklers.
o Constant Security: Fire sprinklers provide security 24 hours a day in case of fires.
• Hazmat Incidents: Responding to previous inquiries, there were 18 hazardous material incidents in 2019 of which 4 were residential gas leaks and 14 incidents were residents using improperly diluted chemicals such as malathion.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed: Coronavirus: Vice Chair Welch inquired about what residents should do when feeling ill in regard to the coronavirus. Captain McCollum responded that the HFD is not providing general advice and recommended that residents consult with their physicians if it is not an immediate emergency. Immediate emergencies should be reported to 911. Julian recommended contacting 211 for general coronavirus information.
Linda Wong arrived at 6:41 p.m. Nine (9) members present.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD): District 6 Waikiki/ Diamond Head: Sergeant Romero reported the following:
• February 2020 Statistics: There were 7 robberies, 10 burglaries, 138 thefts, 23 unauthorized entries into motor vehicles (UEMV), 25 aggravated and simple assaults, 1 sex crime, 39 bikes on sidewalks, 10 skateboards on sidewalks, 3 speeding citations, 676 parking incidents, 14 park closure warnings, 89 park closure citations, and 2 park closure arrests. There was a total of 3,882 calls for service.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Statistics: West inquired about the decrease in statistics between January and February 2020. Officer Ichimura attributed the decrease to increased officer patrols with more visibility.
2. Shortages: West inquired about officer shortages and recruitment programs. Officer Ichimura responded that more officers have recently finished training.
3. Robberies: A resident inquired if any of the reported robberies were solved. Officer Ichimura will follow up on this.
4. Increasing Encampments: Julian expressed concerns about increasing homeless encampments in Crane Park and along Dillingham Boulevard near Costco.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD) Homeless Report: Corporal Kadoi reported that the City was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and lost roughly $800,000, and is now required to hold personal items until they are claimed. He explained that HPD has performed night and day operations at Crane Park and has arrested numerous homeless individuals for violations and the Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM) stores their property. He added that HPD cannot remove shopping carts along Dillingham Boulevard and the City is trying to get the businesses to retrieve these carts because this is the business' responsibility, and laws would need to be changed to address the shopping cart issue. Corporal Kadoi concluded that a separate meeting would be needed for him to address all the issues.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Shopping Cart Theft: B. Wong inquired and Corporal Kadoi responded that people removing shopping carts is not classified as theft because businesses have chosen not to prosecute.
2. Cleanups: L. Wong voiced concerns regarding a recent cleanup where the homeless individuals returned to Crane Park with their property, and the lack of coordination between HPD and DFM's Stored Property Office (SPO). Corporal Kadoi responded that that HPD must announce cleanups, and when cleanups take homeless individuals' belongings they are stored by the SPO for 45 days without charge and can be recovered by appointment. .
3. Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons (HONU): Kealoha-Lindsey inquired if the HONU program will be scheduled for Crane Park. Corporal Kadoi responded that the HONU center has been at Stadium Park for one (1) week after relocating from Waipahu, and the program accepts homeless individuals from parks within a 5-mile radius to the HONU walk-in center, where it has reached capacity every day since it was set up to get willing homeless individuals into shelters or homes. He added that HPD can only arrest for violations or outstanding warrants.
4. Shopping Carts: Resident Barbara Armentrout noted that other States allow police to make arrests for removing shopping carts from properties. Corporal Kadoi responded that laws would have to be changed to allow this in Hawaii. Corporal Kadoi noted that there is a shopping cart patrol to remove carts from sidewalks, and last year 4,182 shopping carts were collected.
5. DFM SPO Team: Sayama inquired and Corporal Kadoi clarified that he is assigned to the DFM's SPO team to assist with their cleanups by providing protection for their 10 park workers who are each from different parks.
6. Crane Park: Sayama noted that homeless encampments at Crane Park have increased due to the HONU center moving into Old Stadium Park and enforcement activity at Diamond Head.
7. Sit-Lie Law: A resident commented that there is trespassing and theft from residences when homeless individuals are cleared from Crane Park, and they use her townhouse complex's water and sleep in the dumpster and bushes. She inquired what happened to the City's sit-lie law and if this is what the ACLU objected to.
Corporal Kadoi clarified the following:
• The sit-lie law only applies to certain business areas, where HPD can issue citations if someone blocks a sidewalk;
• DFM must give people a chance to leave the parks peacefully with their belongings before issuing citations after three (3) warnings, and retrieving the belongings for storage.
• The courts have instructed best judgement in removal of belongings, which the ACLU defines as property and not trash, including buckets of human waste.
• Trespassers on private property is a 911 call, and it is the resident who must take the initiative to pursue this as a warning so they will not come back, because warrants and arrests follow the citations.
• Residents must also take ownership of their community, otherwise homeless trespassers will.
Matson arrived at 6:58 p.m. 10 members present.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD): District 7 Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights: Lieutenant Lowell circulated a handout and reported the following:
• February 2020 Statistics: There were 7 motor vehicle thefts, 10 burglaries, 50 thefts, and 22 UEMVs. There was a total of 5,892 calls for service.
• Senior Emergency Preparedness: A handout regarding emergency preparedness for senior citizens was circulated.
• Meet the Major: Meet the Major is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Haha ione Elementary School Cafeteria.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Speeding: Julian voiced concerns regarding speeding near the Kapahulu Ft. Ruger Market, and noted that a resident put out signs and blue lights to try and curb speeding. Lieutenant Lowell agreed to investigate.
2. Large Vehicle Services: Vice Chair Welch relayed concerns from a resident in Kapahulu regarding tour buses and limousines parking in the 3300 to 3500 residential blocks of Campbell Avenue, and a large number of parked vehicles filled with trash in the same area. Lieutenant Lowell responded that the commercial tour bus and limousine companies could be cited for parking on residential streets, and.that vehicles can be towed for violations, however tow companies are not towing vehicles with expired tags due to towing lots being full. Vice Chair Welch inquired and Lieutenant Lowell responded that abandoned vehicles can still be towed, however they are subject to a longer process.
3. Emergency Contact: Resident Armentrout recommended that senior citizens at emergency shelters should include emergency contact information with their emergency provisions.
STATE AND CITY ADMINISTRATION REPORTS
Governor David Ige's Representative: No representative was present and no report was given.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative: Walea Constantinau, Honolulu Film Office, reported the following:
• 2020 Census: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 is Census Day. By Census Day residents will receive an invitation in the mail to participate in the 2020 Census. The goal of the Census is to count everyone only once and in the right place. Every year, billions of dollars of federal funding goes to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year which equals to about $2,500 per individual. If residents do not mail in or complete an online survey, a Census worker will visit their residence to get the needed information. For a list of questions that will be on the Census form visit https://2020census.gov/en/about-questions.html. For more information, call 800-992-3530 or visit www.2020census.gov.
• Kapahulu Marked Crosswalk: Responding to previous inquiries, the Department of Transportation Services (DTS) will perform an investigation to include a site inspection, speed study, traffic review, collision history, etc., and will share the investigation information with the Mayor's representative, and DTS will take appropriate action as warranted by their analysis.
• Monster Home on Makaleka and Date Streets: Responding to previous inquiries, the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP), Building Division's inspection on February 21, 2020, revealed work in progress on a fence; however, there was no one around working inside the building so no interior inspection was performed on this visit. The structure was originally constructed without a building permit, and Notice of Order No. 2017/NOO-153 was issued on March 23, 2018 and referred to the Department of the Corporation Counsel (COR) on July 16, 2018 for follow-up on civil fines. Building Permit No. 823365 was issued on October 11, 2018 for a new two (2) story two (2) family detached dwelling that corrected the Notice of Violation for construction without a building permit. No building code violations were observed during the recent exterior inspection and there are no outstanding violations on the property. Constantinau noted that the building application may have been submitted to DPP before the Monster House Moratorium law became effective in 2018, and this would have allowed the project to proceed.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Monster Home on Makaleka and Date Streets: West commented that the question was answered technically, but this did not satisfy the community's concern. He noted that there was a stop work order for the monster home on Makaleka and Date Streets and voiced concerns regarding its questionable construction. Beutel noted the building might be zoned for apartments, so monster home laws might not apply to it.
2. Request for Investigation: Matson voiced similar concerns regarding monster homes and a Diamond Head Special District residential development application in 2016 with preliminary site work beginning in 2017 when permits were obtained, but the project lapsed and to date 300 cubic yards of fill have been imported to raise the lot from its original level within the 25-foot-height-limit district. Matson added that an Investigation and Service Report from DPP is now being requested.
3. Kaimuki Municipal Parking Lot: Resident Armentrout inquired about the Kaimuki Municipal Parking Lot work and if the lot will be partially or completely closed to business customers for eight (8) months. Constantinau agreed to follow up on this.
4. Felled Trees: L. Wong commented on the Mayor's plan for a 35% increase in tree canopies in Honolulu due to climate change, and voiced concerns regarding Diamond Head Condominiums felling four (4) mature trees. L. Wong stated that HPD was contacted but this was not under their jurisdiction and inquired if enforcement would be up to the DPP, as the Honolulu Land Use Ordinance (LUO) states that trees that can be seen from the street with a trunk diameter of more than 6 inches must have a permit to be cut down and must be replaced with another tree on the lot within the Diamond Head Special district. Constantinau agreed to investigate. Matson agreed with L. Wong's concern, noting that all of the mature canopy trees had been destroyed on the previously-mentioned Diamond Head Special District property currently requiring an Investigation and Service Report from DPP, and recommended that L. Wong contact DPP Director Kathy Sokugawa regarding this ongoing concern.
5. Winam Avenue Hazard:: West reiterated the community's concerns regarding Winam Avenue and vehicles parked within the section which narrows near the Mooheau Avenue intersection, and inquired if the increased traffic and greater public interest in safety could take precedence over the interests of a few homeowners at that location. Constantinau noted this concern was brought forth a few years ago, and responded that the issue is still being analyzed by the Department of Transportation Services. Matson added that the residents' parked vehicles reduce the roadway to one (1) lane at the busy intersection and recommended relocating the existing no-parking sign farther to the next driveway on the mauka side, where the road widens. .
6. Coronavirus: Vice Chair Welch inquired about the City's preparations for coronavirus. Constantinau responded that teams are working on the best response to the issue and that directives have been made to reduce travel and disinfect public facilities, while trying to identify as many social precautions as possible to mitigate the disease. She recommended that the community should take the directives and safeguards seriously.
Board of Water Supply (BWS): No representative was present and Vice Chair Welch relayed the following report:
• Main Breaks: There were no main breaks during February 2020.
• WaterSmart Web Portal - BWS recently partnered with WaterSmart Software to offer a digital portal so customers can access information about their household water use. To make an account, visit www.Honolulu.watersmart.com then enter your BWS billing account number and email address. The portal allows residents to access their water consumption data; compare their water usage to similar sized households; access customized recommendations to save water and money; and signup for leak alerts.
Resolution to Protect Oahu's Groundwater Resources from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks - Vice Chair Welch opened the floor to discussion and Board action. L. Wong noted that a similar resolution was passed by the Board and signed by former Chair West but was not dated. Matson supported the Resolution to address the present concern that the defective tank is being reactivated by the US Navy.
West moved and Matson seconded the Motion to reaffirm the previous Board's action by adopting the Resolution to Protect Oahu's Groundwater Resources from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks.
1. Timeline: Sayama noted that he was not on the Board when the last resolution was passed, and inquired why the Board believed the 22 year timeline to complete the Administrative Order was too long. Vice Chair Welch responded that the Board had received a report that some sections of tanks were heavily corroded, which created a sense of urgency toward protecting the public water supply. Sayama inquired if an alternative timeline was discussed and Vice Chair Welch clarified that the Resolution's purpose is to urge expedited action for remedy. Resident Armentrout stated that the recommendations were provided by the Sierra Club and BWS who previously made presentations to multiple Neighborhood Boards.
2. Support: L. Wong voiced support for reaffirming the Resolution, and expressed concerns regarding a Maui State Senator refusing to hear Senate Bill 2774 relating to underground storage tanks.
3. Urgency: Keoloha-Lindsey responded that she heard the presentation at another Neighborhood Board and that this has been an ongoing issue which has created a sense of urgency to take action.
4. Wording: Allen objected to some of the Resolution's wording in the first paragraph.
The Motion WAS ADOPTED by UNANIMOUS VOTE, 10-0-0; (AYE: Allen with reservations, Beutel, Julian, Kealoha-Lindsey, Matson, Sayama, Welch, West, B. Wong, and L. Wong; NAY: None; ABSTAIN: None). Vice Chair Welch noted that the Resolution will be delivered to the Governor, the Director of the Department of Health, and members of the Hawaii Congressional delegation, the Hawaii State Legislature and the Honolulu City Council. (See attached.)
Army Corps of Engineers Ala Wai Flood Mitigation Plan Update: Jeff Herzog, Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project manager, circulated an illustrated handout describing the Ala Wai Flood Mitigation Project (AWFMP) and reported the following:
• Background: Herzog outlined previous studies which resulted in the USACE being directed by Congress in 2012 to focus on flood mitigation efforts for the Ala Wai Canal, as they could not justify an ecosystem restoration project.
He added that USACE is working with other groups to address ecosystem restoration concerns in partnership with the AWFMP.
• Update: USACE has begun modifying the AWFMP's system features and modeling, and is taking community input, engineering data, and modeling into consideration as they move the project forward. The project is currently investigating different flood mitigation options that are available to determine which options are feasible. The USACE is sharing these different options through small stakeholder meetings to communicate and work with community groups and residents. Within the next 90 days the USACE should be able to determine which options are technically feasible to reduce the flood risk enough to meet Congressional authorization, at which point the USACE will investigate the environmental impact of the different options over the next nine (9) months to determine the level of supplemental documentation needed for the project's National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) review document, whether this will be an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Environmental Assessment (EA) or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) over the next nine (9) months.
• Maps: Maps were provided in the handout which outlined flooding projections without the project at varying annual exceedance probability rain events.
• Contact Information: For more information contact email@example.com or visit https://www.poh.usace.army.mil/missions/civil-works/civil-works-projects/ala-wai-flood-risk-management-project/.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Ala Wai Golf Course: Resident Franklin Chung questioned man-made climate change and the original premise of the necessity of the project, but welcomed the project keeping its focus on the 150-acre Ala Wai Golf Course, and commented that it is not needed upstream or by the canal. He advocated for using the federal funds to upgrade the golf course so it can serve as both a golf course and flood plain, and also using City revenue generated from TopGolf for the annual maintenance of the golf course and cleaning up the flood plain so the recreational golf course will stay green for many decades to come. He added that along with not subscribing to climate change, he believes there is no reason to change the golf course to a park with 1,000 more trees, or to a marshland or kalo farms. Herzog responded with the following comments:
• The USACE has determined that the flood mitigation project is necessary based on scientific data used in determining what is actually occurring and what will be necessary for the community's adaptability and resiliency during large weather events by reducing flood risk.
• USACE fully concurs with maximizing the use of the golf course because the golf course is at the lowest elevation and would have 250 acre-feet of floodwater storage, but this will not completely solve the problem because it is the end point of the runoff from the Ko‘olau mountains to the ocean.
• The city's storm drainage system also runs through the golf course from both the Kaimuki High School side and the Kapahulu Avenue side, and because of the cumulative effects in accordance with Section 106E, the floodwater storage berm will need to be cut toward the Kapahulu side.
Herzog clarified that this project is not associated with TopGolf, and the overland floodwater flow will remain status quo and will continue to flood through this area of the golf course and around the clubhouse. He added that he will be addressing these points with resident Chung.
2. Communication: Resident Armentrout voiced approval of the USACE improving communication with the community and expressed gratitude for the updates on working toward the solutions.
3. Coordination: Resident Dave Watase voiced approval of the updated plans and the new approach the USACE is taking to coordinate and build trust with residents and take the right approach on the project.
4. Funding: Resident Watase expressed concern regarding hearing from others that funding for the project will be lost if the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) is not signed by March or April, and that the USACE has already hired a consultant to work on the Supplemental EIS. Herzog responded that the project is Congressionally authorized and that he is not involved in funding, however he will continue working on the project in a responsible manner to complete it properly for as long as he is assigned to the project.
5. Hokulani Elementary School: A resident voiced concerns regarding impacts caused by the AWFMP and advocated keeping the AWFMP away from Hokulani School and the surrounding homes. The resident added that the City and the State should be cleaning the streams to prevent flooding. Herzog responded that in December 2019 an island-wide stream cleaning permit was jointly approved to allow the City to clean the streams. Herzog noted that jurisdictional and coordination issues between the State, City and private property owners make stream cleaning difficult.
6. Models: Beutel inquired about the difference between 1D and 2D models. Herzog clarified that 1D models are more cost effective and faster, and use data to predict where water will flow and determine the mitigation cost, while 2D models are more costly and take more time, however they are more accurate and use more data to calculate the effects of a full storm and the design the mitigation plan.
Julian departed at 8:06 p.m. Nine (9) members present.
7. Map Accuracy: Beutel questioned the accuracy of the maps that were presented, and Herzog clarified that the maps were only probability projections of where maximum flooding could occur.
8. Flood Gates: Beutel inquired if flood gates and pumps at the end of the Ala Wai Canal are still being considered. Herzog responded that the USACE has determined that pumps would be necessary, although the final details are being worked out. Herzog added that additional features in the Manoa Marketplace area will be necessary.
9. New Modeling: Sayama inquired when the public can expect to see 2D modeling that shows the effects of the AWFMP with project conditions. Herzog responded that this should be available in the next 90 days with the engineering documentation report.
10. Data Updates: Sayama inquired how frequently the USACE updates their data, and Herzog responded that USACE has to update modeling, cost and economics data every three (3) years and is currently updating these during 2020. Sayama inquired and Herzog responded that the modeling updates do not always require updating the investigation and modification process.
11. Detention Basins: Resident Minerbi noted the modifications under investigation that include elimination of the Makiki and Palolo Valley detention basins, and inquired why the Kanewai detention basin remains on the project list. Herzog responded that the USACE is looking at eliminating the Makiki and Palolo basins because the Makiki Stream goes underground and any added features would result in flooding, thus the focus is being shifted into the lower Makiki neighborhood; and Palolo has numerous bridge constrictions which will limit water flow. He confirmed that the Kanewai basin is still included because it sits near a flood-prone and risky area, and Kanewai will remain as a large 30 acre-feet green open space with a recessed spillway to return the water to the stream.
12. Inspections: Resident Minerbi expressed doubt that the City could maintain such a project, and Herzog responded that the USACE routinely does their own inspections of their projects to ensure protections from injury or property loss.
13. Emergency Supplemental Projects: A resident inquired and Herzog responded that Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans is being used as a learning experience by Congress to fund and prepare future Emergency Supplemental projects such as the AWFMP to be fully funded and constructed, instead of allocating piecemeal remedies over decades.
14. Condemning Homes: L. Wong inquired if the project is still contemplating the controversial condemnation of homes in Manoa and Palolo. Herzog responded that originally 32 properties were impacted by the AWFMP and four (4) in Palolo required full purchase. He noted that this would be the responsibility of the non-federal sponsor, either the City or the State, and the plan was to purchase property at appraised value and no purchases would be made until the design phase. Herzog added that since the Palolo stream features were removed from the project they are not looking at acquiring any property, however flowage easements and access easements may be necessary to purchase, as portions of the Palolo Stream are owned by various property owners.
15. Ala Wai Wall: L. Wong inquired if a four (4) foot concrete wall is still planned to be built around the Ala Wai Canal, because this must be reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Division and it is not in the budget. Herzog responded that a flood barrier along the Ala Wai Canal may be necessary, however there are different options such as an earthen berm on the mauka side. Herzog clarified that if a wall is built it will be required to blend in with the green landscape, such as a lava rock wall, blue rock wall or moss wall, etc., so it will be more than just a concrete slab. He added that no walls would be needed behind a pump station that evacuates the flood water, such as at one of the stream confluences.
16. TopGolf: L. Wong commented on the Topgolf development proposed to be in the Ala Wai flood plain, and being informed by Topgolf that they will determine how to integrate with the flood plain during development of their own EIS. Herzog responded that USACE has communicated with Topgolf that there will be cumulative impacts under Section 106E, which TopGolf will have to plan around. He explained that the area must be left open for the future without project conditions, i.e., to leave an open area at the golf course; and the AWFMP berm will not protect Topgolf by blocking floodwaters and thus induce flooding into the surrounding community.
17. Floodwater Detention and Storage: Matson inquired and Herzog clarified that a large section of the golf course beginning at the clubhouse will be used by the AWFMP for flood storage. Matson expressed concerns about TopGolf obstructing overland flow from the Kapahulu Avenue area to the floodwater detention and storage areas, and inquired how the USACE would circumnavigate floodwater around TopGolf. Herzog responded that the overland flow cannot be detained, so TopGolf will be responsible for elevating or otherwise protecting their structures.
18. Other Impacts: Matson noted concerns previously presented about Topgolf pilings puncturing the underground karst water cave system and aquifer, and the diversion of runoff from the impervious field surface and intrusion of synthetic turf chemical cleaners into the Ala Wai Canal, and she inquired about locating the floodwater detention areas closer to Kapahulu Avenue, instead of farther into the golf course to avoid such misplaced projects. Herzog responded that the City's storm drainage system pushes water ‘ewa from the Kaimuki High School area, and makai through the golf course from the Kapahulu area. He noted if all the water is brought into the golf course for detention, then any capacity for flood storage from the Manoa-Palolo Canal will be lost, and it will fill up too quickly to be efficient. Matson noted that this was the point of the question and that the existing conditions provide the strongest basis for water percolation and retention, instead of creating 7.3 acres of impervious surfaces proposed by the Topgolf project which appears to be a major impediment.
19. Sea Level Rise: Matson inquired about sea level rise coming from the makai side and justifying what the AWFMP is trying to accomplish without a wall around Waikiki. Herzog responded that a wall around Waikiki would be under the jurisdiction of another authority, and the sea level rise analysis is detailed in the USACE engineering appendix A-3. He added that other variables are also taken into consideration leading to the backwater elevation that is also accounted for, such as the City's determination of 3.2 feet and the USACE's determination of 2.9 feet. He noted that this is the intermediate level variance within global as well as UH analyses of sea-level rise and backwater elevation.
No additional concerns were presented.
PRIORITY COMMUNITY ISSUES
Tour Helicopter Safety and Noise
Vice Chair Welch noted that a draft Resolution, "Supporting State Legislative Action to Require FAA Regulations Compliance to be Attached to State Airports Permits for Tour Helicopters and Small Aircraft," was circulated prior to the meeting.
Matson reported that the State Legislature is working to address tour aircraft issues and recommended adopting the Resolution to support the Legislature's efforts to protect Hawaii's communities from tour helicopter impacts and provide for compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Matson highlighted the key points in the Resolution " and noted the following objectives of current Legislation:
• Attaching Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulation compliance requirements to tour helicopter permits for their use of land and facilities at State airports;
• Requiring FAA-approved flight instrument implementation due to the recent number of crashes and emergencies relating to tour helicopter pilots not having or using flight guidance instruments when flying in inclement weather and relying solely on visual flight guidelines;
• Initiating tour aircraft flight and identification data collection by the State Airports Division to be posted on their public web site for the public to properly identify and report tour helicopters that fly too low, too close and cause problems and safety concerns for the island communities below;
• Establishing a public advisory panel, comprised of representatives from the impacted larger community, local FAA air traffic control and flight standards managers, State Airports Division officials, Hawaii Congressional delegation staff, and State and City Legislators active on the issue, to collaboratively communicate and seek solutions to establish understandings with the tour helicopter industry.
She concluded that this has been a long-standing issue which the Board's O‘ahu Tour Helicopter Safety and Noise Inter-Action Group and the larger O‘ahu community have been working to address, and she recommended that the Board adopt the Resolution to communicate to the State Legislature the community's support of these protections in their active legislation.
Mrozewski arrived at 8:32 p.m. 10 members present.
West moved and Matson seconded the Motion to adopt the Resolution.
A comment followed: L. Wong commented that she supports the effort and recognizes the need, but had not received the resolution prior to the meeting and could not support a resolution which she had not read.
The Motion WAS ADOPTED by MAJORITY VOTE, 9-1-0; (AYE: Allen, Beutel, Mrozewski, Kealoha-Lindsey, Matson, Sayama, Welch, West, and B. Wong; NAY: L. Wong; ABSTAIN: None) See attached.
Ala Wai Canal and Golf Course
Vice Chair Welch noted that a draft Resolution, "Relating to the Ala Wai Golf Course Preservation Zone and its Public Recreational Green Open Space," was circulated prior to the meeting.
Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Matson highlighted the Resolution relating to the community's and Board members' concerns presented at the February meeting regarding a TopGolf commercial entertainment center proposed to be developed on the Ala Wai Golf Course recreational open space within the Diamond Head Special District preservation zone. She noted that the proposed commercial development creates a dangerous precedent in the recreational P-2 preservation zone, and added that the City's Department of Enterprise Services director stated at the February meeting that the City administration has no intention to alter or remove the popular recreational golf course.
West moved and Matson seconded the Motion to adopt the Resolution.
1. Corporate Profits: Beutel commented that he agrees with parts of the resolution, and inquired how to resolve conflicts between the public interest and Topgolf corporation's duty to maximize their profits. Beutel acknowledged that there is already a driving range at the golf course that area residents use, with a small fence and lights that he can see from his residence, and among his several concerns is that the price for locals could increase at the Topgolf venue, however he could not conclusively support building the project in Kapolei or somewhere else.
2. Revenue: Sayama noted his reservations about the Topgolf's artificial turf discussed at the February meeting. He added that the need to locate TopGolf at the Ala Wai Golf Course is to generate sustainable revenue for the golf course as well as for the City and State. Sayama noted that he is a visitor and golfer at the golf course and supports the TopGolf project, and would like to see a continued dialog between the Topgolf representatives and the Board and community members. He added that he does not agree with a complete relocation of the project.
3. Main Point: Mrozewski stated that he supports TopGolf, but the City and Topgolf need to discuss this more. He noted that the Resolution's wording could be reviewed, not to find a more appropriate location but to review other locations. Mrozewski emphasized that the main point is that the City can extract more revenue from Topgolf than has been offered, to make the project more beneficial to the City.
4. Entertainment: B. Wong commented that he is a golfer and supports TopGolf because it is a blast like bowling. He added that Topgolf will attract the tourists, and could be expanded to Kapolei as there likely will be more than one Topgolf entertainment center. B. Wong emphasized that the flooding problems in the area have to be addressed because this has always been a flood plain, and noted that TopGolf has represented they will only take over the existing driving range that occupies a small part of the total golf course area.
5. Cumulative Impacts: Matson explained that the Resolution is about the cumulative impacts of the proposed TopGolf development on the Ala Wai Golf Course and surrounding area, which the Board's former Chair had requested to be defined, and she summarized the following concerns:
• The proposed 7.3-acre Topgolf development is a high-density gaming and entertainment center proposed for the golf course recreational open space
• Topgolf LED light pollution at night would disrupt adjacent residential areas, as communicated by concerned community members at the February meeting and as shown in the photograph attached to the Resolution.
• Other major concerns are the design density of the multi-level TopGolf structure and the 170-foot high, 17-story perimeter safety fence obstructing the significant view planes designated in the City's Diamond Head Special District protective zoning ordinance.
• The TopGolf commercial entertainment center appears intended for Waikiki tourists, and Topgolf's high prices can be found online.
• The existing traffic issues on Kapahulu Avenue will be compounded by Topgolf's projected 400,000-600,000 annual users.
• The proposed commercial Topgolf development is a violation of the Diamond Head Special District's P-2 Preservation zoning code at this location and is contrary to the environmental protection of this area; therefore the Ala Wai Golf Course is an inappropriate site for this proposed development.
Matson concluded that the Resolution objects to the current Topgolf proposal and the cumulative impacts of a proposed commercial development that is being promoted for a protected area without full disclosure. She noted if Topgolf and the City return with major revisions that they can commit to, the Board could entertain the option to reconsider the project at that time, and other Topgolf proposals may be acceptable at more central locations for local users. She recommended that Board members contemplate the cumulative impacts of the proposed development, as well as online information relating to the lawsuits, accidents and turmoil associated with these projects.
6. Postponement: Matson suggested postponing action on the Resolution until some of the Board's members could better understand the impacts of the proposed development with further discussion and research. Vice Chair Welch agreed with postponing Board action on the Resolution because there is a lot of information to consider, and some Board members were absent from this meeting and may wish to contribute to the discussion.
7. Permitted Interaction Group (PIG): Mrozewski inquired about forming a PIG to hold additional discussions outside of the meeting with the community and Board members. Vice Chair Welch responded that a PIG had been established by the Board, and confirmed this can also include interested and affected community members.
8. Location: West stated that he is a lifetime golfer and is against the location of TopGolf at Ala Wai Golf Course, however he supports the TopGolf entertainment venue at a more appropriate location. He pointed out contiguous traffic constrictions, as well as Topgolf creating a precedent for more development of the golf course property.
9. Timeline for Action: Kealoha-Lindsey inquired if there is a timeline on the Topgolf project proposal for the Board to take action, before it is too late and a final decision is made by the City. Vice Chair Welch confirmed that the Board's Ala Wai Canal and Golf Course Inter-Action Group will follow up on this.
Hearing no objections the Resolution was postponed to a future meeting by Unanimous Consent.
Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Matson reported that the City Council's Zoning, Planning and Housing Committee is scheduling hearing for City Council Bill 66 on March 23, 2020. She summarized a proposed Resolution, "Supporting City Council Bill 66, Council Draft (CD) 1.2, Relating to Building Permits" for the Board's consideration. She explained that Bill 66 is a regulatory bill that provides for better DPP oversight, inspections and enforcement of existing laws by addressing building permit violations with the strengthening of fines and increasing DPP oversight. She noted the continuing public concerns regarding certain property owners and contractors violating loosely-enforced regulations and DPP decreasing fines, which does not encourage compliance and which Bill 66 is intended to correct.
Matson moved and Kealoha-Lindsey seconded the Motion to adopt the Resolution.
1. Building Permits: Beutel expressed concern about the provision in Bill 66 to revoke a building permit if the builder does not meet certain regulatory deadlines, commenting that this may have an effect on affordable housing when there is a critical shortage and a homeless crisis. Matson responded that this would not affect affordable housing, as the intent of the bill is to address building permit abuses. Vice Chair Welch clarified that permits would only be revoked if the permitted work does not start or end within certain timeframes. Mrozewski commented about personally undergoing renovations, and 120 days is not a long time for stalled renovation work. He added that there is no reason for a law to enforce similar laws already in place. Vice Chair Welch responded that the City Council's intention is to strengthen regulations in view of the continuing regulatory abuses by builders of monster homes.
The Motion WAS NOT ADOPTED LACKING QUORUM VOTE, 7-2-1; (AYE: Allen, Kealoha-Lindsey, Matson, Welch, West, L. Wong, and B. Wong; NAY: Beutel and Mrozewski; ABSTAIN: Sayama).
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz: Kathy Bryant, Justin Lee, and Maya Abarca of Senator Schatz's Office, reported the following:
• Youth and Student Programs: Senator Schatz's office offers a) an internship program for high school seniors to work on an outreach program to help students identify and address interests at their schools and attend and staff special events, b a senate youth program for juniors and seniors interested in working for the Senate and attending a program where two (2) can be selected; and c) academy nominations for military service.
• Constituent Services: Constituent services are commonly requested for veterans and military service, social security and medicare, immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and internal revenue service/task foreclosures. Questions can be directed to Senator Schatz's Honolulu office at (808) 523-2061 or visit Schatz.Senate.gov.
• Coronavirus: Coronavirus information and continued updates are also available on Senator Schatz's website. The Senate has shifted to teleworking from home and residents are encouraged to email questions and concerns through Senator Schatz's website during this time.
Hearing no objections Vice Chair Welch proceeded to Agenda Item 9.A.1: Discussion and Action on Meeting Time.
Discussion and Board Action on Meeting Time: Vice Chair Welch recommended starting meetings at 6:00 p.m. in the future due to the Board's lengthy agendas and closing requirements for the meeting room.
Vice Chair Welch called a vote on starting the Board meetings at 6:00 p.m. The Motion WAS ADOPTED by MAJORITY VOTE, 8-2-0; (AYE: Beutel, Kealoha-Lindsey, Matson, Sayama, Welch, West, L. Wong, and B. Wong; NAY: Allen and Mrozewski; ABSTAIN: None).
All other items were deferred due to facility closure.
Next Regular Board Meeting: The next regular Board meeting will be at Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse, date to be determined.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 9:01 p.m.
Submitted by: Jackson Coley, Public Relations Assistant
Reviewed by: Chris Naylon, Public Relations Assistant
Reviewed by: Michelle Matson, NB#5 Secretary
Finalized by: Winston Welch, NB#5 First Vice Chair
‘Olelo March 12, 2020 Board Meeting Video: http://olelo.granicus.com/player/clip/76407?view_id=78
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