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With Permission / Courtesy of: City and County of Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office

KAIMUK NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 4

 

March 2023 Minutes

 

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2023

KAIMUKI PUBLIC LIBRARY MEETING ROOM and WEBEX APPLICATION

CALL TO ORDER - Chair Yamada called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Quorum was established with six (6) members present. Note - This 11-member Board requires six (6) members to establish a quorum and to take official Board action.

Board Members Present - Brian Kang, Lori Yamada, Jason DeMarco (arrived at 6:34 via WebEx), Eric McCutcheon, Kelsie Aguilera (via WebEx), Becky Gardner (via WebEx), Rob Haak (via WebEx)

Board Members Absent - Paul Hoe

Guests - Lieutenant Taro Nakamura and Sergeant W. Malina (Honolulu Police Department); Lorna Heller and Kathleen Pahinui (Board of Water Supply (BWS); Adoree Yu and Matt McKeever (Queen Theatre); Stephen Yuen (3650 Waialae Avenue); Patty Eppler and Eduardo Hernandez (Civil Beat); Chancellor Misaki Takabayashi and Carol Hoshiko (Kapiolani Community College); Calvin Hara (Kaimuki Business and Professional Association); Director of the Department of Information Technology Mark Wong (Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative); Adam Doo (Office of Council Chair Tommy Waters); Janel Denny and Melvia Kawashima, (Office of Councilmember Calvin Say); Amanda Stevens (Governor Josh Green's Representative); Ian Ross (Office of Senator Stanley Chang); Representative Jackson Sayama; Representative Bertrand Kobayashi; Laura Ruby, Elwood, Anthony Callione, Joyce Murakami, Mike Town, Zoe Finn, Eugene, Patrick Watson, (Residents); and Thomas Baldwin (Neighborhood Commission Office).

ROLL CALL The Neighborhood Assistant conducted a roll call.

FILLING OF VACANCIES

There were no volunteers to fill vacancies.

CITY MONTHLY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) - No representative; the following report was provided prior to the meeting:

• February 2023 Statistics: There were three (3) activated alarms, 46 medical calls, and five (5) motor vehicle crash/ collisions.

• Smoke Alarm Safety Tips: Smoke alarms save lives and are an important part of a home fire escape plan. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms give occupants early warning to get outside quickly. Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom and outside the sleeping areas (hallways) and on every level of the home (including basement). Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen or bathroom to reduce false alarms. There are different types of smoke alarms to fit your family's needs. Ensure everyone in your home understands and reacts to the signal (light, vibration, or sound) best for their situation. Always choose equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Test all smoke alarms once a month. Press the test button to ensure the alarm is working. If you hear the Civil Defense siren on the first working day of the month, it is a good reminder to test all of your smoke alarms at home. Maintain and replace devices according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Dust or vacuum smoke alarms frequently to eliminate dust, debris, and insects that may cause false alarms. If the smoke alarm requires a nine-volt battery, replace the battery each year. Replace smoke alarm unit every ten years, or sooner if they do not respond properly.

DeMarco arrived at 6:34 p.m. with seven (7) members present.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD) - Lieutenant Taro Nakamura reported the following:

February 2023 Statistics: There were eight (8) motor vehicle thefts, six (6) burglaries, 20 thefts, 12 unauthorized entries into motor vehicles (UEMVs), and 6,138 total calls for service.

Safety Tip - Move Over Law: A driver of a vehicle must slow down and change lanes away from emergency vehicles on the side of the road.

Board of Water Supply (BWS): Lorna Heller reported no main breaks in the community and discussed World Water Day on March 22, 2023 and discussed the theme of Accelerating Change. Regarding Red Hill/ Water quality updates, Kathleen Pahinui reported the following: the task force involving the Navy, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still meeting. The Navy has hired Nakupuna to engage in community outreach regarding the future of the Red Hill site following the decommissioning of the facility.

PUBLIC INPUT

Kuilei Place - Neighborhood Boards: Resident Laura Ruby discussed recent announcements by members of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8 members, including the Chair, that they will no longer be seeking reelection. She discussed their stated reasons at their last meeting, highlighting the lack of agency or acknowledgement of the board's resolution regarding Kuilei Place during the City Council discussion and subsequent vote to approve the project. She expressed that Neighborhood Boards should be aware that the precedent set by the vote could affect communities like Kaimuki.

DeMarco left at 6:40 p.m. due to technical difficulties with six (6) members present.

PRESENTATIONS

Honolulu Civil Beat: Editor and General Manager Patti Eppler and Eduardo Hernandez gave a presentation and reported the following: Eppler discussed the history and evolution of their news organization. Honolulu Civil Beat started in 2010 as a for-profit newsroom, charging monthly subscriptions, but transitioned to a non-profit in 2016. This change allowed them to remove their paywall and make content free for everyone. The organization has 33 staff members. In an effort to give back to the community, they have focused on engagement and community outreach. Examples include "pop-up newsrooms" in partnership with public libraries and their ongoing transparency project. In February 2022, Civil Beat expanded to neighbor islands, with full-time staff based on various islands. This neighbor island expansion is concentrated on Maui, but there are reporters on the Big Island and Kauai as well.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed:

1. Support: Residents Mike Town and Laura Ruby expressed support for Civil Beat. Member Gardner expressed support for their community outreach events, and Eppler responded that they hope to do a community event in Kaimuki soon. Resident Ruby requested that Civil Beat promote more discussion on the Ala Pono Bridge Project.

2. Clarification: Resident Elwood asked and Eppler clarified the difference between a print news organization like Midweek and their own organization which is a digital only publication.

UPDATES FROM COMMUNITY GROUPS

Kaimuki Business and Professional Association (KBPA): Calvin Hara of KBPA reported the following: He discussed their recent general meeting at a local restaurant, ongoing scholarship program for students at local high schools, and the confirmation of a committee for the Kaimuki Christmas parade scheduled for Thursday, December 7, 2023. Hara also mentioned street cleanups and adopt-a-tree initiatives along Waialae Avenue and side streets.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed: 3650 Waialae Avenue: Resident Ruby expressed concerns that certain tree wells in front of 3650 Waialae might make it difficult for pedestrians to navigate the sidewalks due to the lack of setbacks from the project. Chair Yamada deferred the question to the 3650 Waialae Avenue report.

Hawaii Bicycling League: Neighborhood Bike Leader Eric McCutcheon gave a presentation on micro-mobility. McCutcheon promoted the Haleiwa Metric Century, on April 30, 2023. McCutcheon reported that applications for the Hawai`i Electric Bike and Electric Moped Rebate opened on February 28, 2023 and will remain open until the funds are exhausted. The rebate is only available for new electric bikes and electric mopeds, and the maximum rebate amount is $500.00 or 20% of the retail value. To be eligible, applicants must be 18 years or older and meet at least one of the following criteria: low-income, do not own a car, or be enrolled in school/college/university. reviewed information regarding the electric bike and electric moped rebate program. McCutcheon noted that monowheel devices have a range of 18-99 miles and can reach speeds of 16-43 mph. The motors used in these devices range from 750 to 2500 watts. Additionally, there are currently no laws in the Hawaii revised statutes that require registration, safety checks, driver's licenses, vehicle licenses, or insurance for monowheels. McCutcheon emphasized that motorists ought to share the road and follow all applicable traffic laws.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed:

• Legislation: Resident Elwood asked and McCutcheon responded that laws and ordinances could be made to regulate these if their State Legislators/Councilmembers are willing to act.

• Age Range: Resident Elwood asked and McCutcheon responded that most monowheel riders seem to be young.

• Licensing: Resident Elwood asked and McCutcheon responded that no license is necessary to operate a monowheel. He clarified that, generally, the rules regarding license requirements, registration, insurance, etc. become more stringent as the power increases.

• Advisement: Resident Ruby expressed concerns that a typical monowheel rider, often unprotected, are being advised to operate their vehicle in the street. McCutcheon clarified that, as no laws currently regulate these, the current advisement to a monowheel operator from store owners is to drive where they feel most comfortable.

• Legislation (continued): Representative Sayama asked and McCutcheon responded that bike lane funds come from Federal, State, and City and County, with the rules regulating them relating to the respective funding provided to build them.

Queen Theater: Adoree Yu and Matthew McKeever reported the following: A structural engineer has confirmed that the marquee is safe for the public. They have completely replaced the ceiling of the marquee and are exploring options to further improve the facade. They are in discussions with development groups and a perspective anchor tenant to make the Queen Theatre a gathering place for the community. Yu asked for understanding during this interim period and mentioned their short-term leasing strategy for adjacent retail spaces. Yu reported that they secured a tenant for the commercial kitchen space and plans for a sandwich shop opening soon.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed:

1. Adjacent Vape Shop: Member Aguilera expressed concerns and disappointment with the decision to have a vape shop as an adjacent tenant to the Queen Theatre, commenting that the Board is generally in opposition to e-cigarette advertisement to children. Member Aguilera clarified that the vape shop's "candy store" aesthetic is disappointing to see next to the Queen Theatre. Yu responded that the tenant is a small business owner and is in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Yu explained that she is also a small business owner trying to make ends meet and has been cooperative with the neighborhood board in addressing safety concerns and updating the theater. Yu requested that people reach out to her directly with concerns and asked for understanding and support as they work with developers and maintain the property. Member Gardner expressed concerns about the vape shop's location in a family-oriented area, its bright rainbow colors, and the predatory nature of the industry. She highlighted health concerns and the need to balance business decisions with community impact.

2. Contact: Chair Yamada asked and Yu responded that those interested in contacting her regarding Queen Theatre can email her at yu.adoree@gmail.com.

Diamond Head Theater: No representative was present; no report was given.

Kapiolani Community College (KCC): Carol Hoshiko introduced KCC's new Chancellor, Misaki Takabayashi, who spoke briefly about her background, experiences, and commitment to neighborhood partnerships. Hoshiko mentioned that the Chancellor would be hosting the next virtual town hall on April 6, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. Due to technical difficulties, a construction update was deferred to later in the meeting.

3650 Waialae Avenue (Goodwill Building): Stephen Yuen reported that the building exterior work at 3650 Waialae is in progress and some of the work will take around 4 to 6 weeks. The work will relate to the existing sidewalk, which will result in a temporary shutdown and moving the existing bus stop. Approval from DTS is required for some of the utility work. The exact dates are not yet confirmed but will be posted on the www.3650waialae.com website. Questions should be directed to the website or the information hotline.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed:

1. Parking Levels: Resident Elwood asked and Yuen responded that there are two (2) levels of parking under the main street level. The Koko Head Avenue side will be for donation drop-off.

2. Tree Coverage on Waialae Avenue: Resident Ruby asked and Yuen responded that the design intention is to develop trees, with plans for a plaza open space at the corner of Koko Head Avenue and Waialae Avenue. Yuen discussed the design intention of embracing trees and enhancing walkability in the area. The idea was to have awnings with buildings close to the sidewalk, creating shade for pedestrians. However, due to the presence of a bus stop, they had to move everything away, leaving only a couple of existing trees and utilizing the plaza area for landscaping. Resident Ruby asked and Yuen responded that they can only go up to 30 inches of awnings beyond their building.

KCC (continued): Hoshiko gave a construction update for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific and reported the following: The roof has been installed and grading for the terrace garden is underway. The metal framing has been installed for the auditorium entrance and so has the roughing in of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire sprinklers for the restaurant and auditorium. The foundation and stem walls for the innovation center have been poured.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed: Appearance: Resident Ruby discussed ideas to reduce the appearance of plain concrete walls and Hoshiko encouraged the resident to go to the town hall on April 6, 2023.

ELECTED OFFICIALS' REPORTS

Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative - DIT Director Mark Wong distributed a newsletter (oneoahu.org/newsletter) and reported the following: Oahu's reliance on imported food is a long-running and well-known problem. Mayor Blangiardi and his team is committed to tackling this challenge by encouraging increases in both the demand and supply side of institutional food purchasing, aiming for growth and balance in Agriculture, an important sector of our island economy. Mayor Blangiardi and his team will be on the road to visit communities around Oahu. There will be 11 Town Hall meetings which will include an open Q&A session with Mayor Blangiardi and representatives from 25 City departments and agencies. The public is encouraged to attend to give suggestions on how this administration can better serve the people of Oahu. For the second year in a row, Forbes has distinguished The City and County of Honolulu among America's Best Employers by State, ranking #2 employer in Hawai‘i and #1 in the state for government services. To explore career opportunities at the City and County of Honolulu, please visit https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/honolulu. The NCO is proud to announce that they received 425 candidate registrations for the election to the 2023-2025 Neighborhood Board term. The voting period starts on April 28 and run through May 19, you can find out more information at the NCO website at www.honolulu.gov/nco/nbelections. Regarding the Board's request to extend the traffic study at 8th Avenue and Waialae Avenue to the 9th Avenue intersection as well, DTS requests more specific information before moving forward with a study.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed:

1. Glass Shattering During Pickup: Member McCutcheon asked and Director Wong responded that he would follow up on ENV's process for blue bin recycling pick up if the driver is aware of glass shattering on the road/sidewalk during servicing.

2. 3630 Sierra Drive: Resident Anthony Callione expressed concerns about the state of 3630 Sierra Drive and the potential for traffic fatalities. Director Wong advised reporting concerns with potholes and road maintenance to the Honolulu 311 app for a quick response. Member Aguilera mentioned recurring accidents on this stretch of roadway. Director Wong clarified that more detailed concerns could be forwarded to departments such as DFM, DTS, or DDC, depending on the issue. Member McCutcheon stated that Sierra Drive's complete resurfacing began months ago. Adam Doo from Chair Waters' Office reported that the City has started repaving sections of Sierra Drive, with the project scheduled to last at least one year. Director Wong noted he would follow up on the accuracy of a map indicating a specific area of Sierra Drive repaved in the last two years, which might be incorrect.

3. Trash Can Pickup: Resident Elwood expressed concerns that ENV employees will leave trash cans they pulled from the sidewalk/driveway onto the street. Director Wong responded that he will follow up on the concern.

City Council Chair Tommy Waters - Adam Doo distributed a newsletter and reported on a 65% decrease in the use of the City's free junk vehicle program, designed to reduce abandoned vehicles on public roadways. Doo also provided information on how to report glass that has been left on the street. Doo reported that the intersection at Sierra Drive and Wilhelmina Rise is being investigated by the City's traffic division. Doo also reported that results from the Waialae Avenue and 16th Avenue traffic study are still pending, and Chair Waters is meeting with the DTS deputy director to discuss the matter.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed: Sierra Drive: Member McCutcheon asked and Doo responded that the investigation will specifically study the 3600 block of Sierra Drive/Wilhelmina Rise.

Councilmember Calvin Say (City Council District 5): No representative was present due to the full Council meeting at this time. No report was given.

Governor Josh Green's Representative - Amanda Stevens of the Department of Human Services (DHS) reported the following: DLNR supports elimination of the principal metered parking spaces at Iolani Palace but would like to keep a small number of spaces near the building for special events. She also discussed the potential for ADA parking stalls as well. Stevens also discussed an office of Wellness and Resilience, a part of DHS, designed to address trauma for those with limited income and mental health challenges. They established an annual wellness and resilience summit and coordinate with other government offices for trauma-informed responses to community trauma and natural disasters.

Senator Stanley Chang: Legislative Aide Ian Ross distributed a newsletter and reported the following: Ross reported that the Legislature is halfway through its session. Ross discussed openings on the Youth Commission and shared a link for young people who want to get involved. Ross mentioned that Senator Chang hosted a webinar with economist Dr. Paul Brubaker. Art at the Capitol is on Friday, April 14, 2023 for the public to see the public art collection in the offices of the State Legislature. Ian also invited people to Senator Chang's office on March 31, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. for a zoom discussion on how Seattle passed a social housing referendum.

Senator Les Ihara, Jr.: No representative present; no report given.

Representative Jackson Sayama: Representative Sayama reported on the progress of several bills, including ones related to a ban on flavored e-cigarette and tobacco products, and funding for environmental impact studies and design planning for redevelopment of the Queen Lili uokalani Elementary School for affordable teacher housing. Representative Sayama also discussed his outreach efforts to the University of Hawaii's Community Development Center for potential designs. Representative Sayama discussed a rally on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 by advocates for regulating and taxing flavored e-cigarette and tobacco products. Representative Sayama mentioned the passing of the state budget in the House and reduced economic outlook, which may affect legislation and construction of affordable housing units.

Representative Bert Kobayashi: Representative Kobayashi reported that the House has a flexible budget with $1 placeholders for most of the Governor's budget add-ons. Additionally, Calvin Hara was recognized for his 60 years of outstanding volunteer work with the Alzheimer's Foundation. The House has also passed several ethics and transparency proposals from the Ethics Commission to improve standards. The biggest proposal that did not pass is the term limit bill. The House is now awaiting Senate action on the budget.

United States Representative Ed Case: No representative present; no report given.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Kaimuki Neighborhood Board No. 4 Website: Chair Yamada shared a website hosting information relevant to Kaimuki and the Neighborhood Board:

https://knb4kaimuki.wixsite.com/boardmeetings

BOARD BUSINESS

Report of Planning and Zoning Committee and Recommendations: The Neighborhood Assistant reported that Committee Chair DeMarco finalized their venue for the next meeting with an agenda expected to be posted by the end of the week.

Discussion on forming Committees to address community issues - Transportation, Environment, Safety, etc. No report.

Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes (February 2023): KANG MOVED and MCCUTCHEON SECONDED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES AS AMENDED. The motion WAS ADOPTED by VOICE VOTE: 6-0-0 (AYE: Kang, Yamada, McCutcheon, Gardner, Aguilera, Haak. NAY: None. ABSTAIN: None). The regular meeting minutes were adopted with amendments.

p. 2: PUBLIC INPUT: strike the s on "Queens"

p. 2: Hawaii BL: replace "and" with "on"; replace "scooter" with "moped"

delete the last "s" on "services"

change "15" to "15.5"

p. 4: Questions 2: replace "precedence" with "precedent"

p. 4: Sayama: add okina to "Lili`uokalani"

Whole document: Add "e" to "Ho"

REPORTS

Treasurer's Report - No report was available.

Members' Attendance at Other Meetings: No reports.

Next Meeting: The next Kaimuki Neighborhood Board No. 4 Regular Meeting is scheduled on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. in person and / or WebEx Application.

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 p.m.

Submitted by: Thomas Baldwin, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Naomi Hanohano, Community Relations Specialist

Final approval by: Lori Yamada, Chair

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