Chinatown Senior Housing Project Needs Public Vetting

17 02 2016

In Tuesday’s editorial, “Don’t Block Chinatown Senior Housing Project,” the Honolulu Star Advertiser did not consider all of the circumstances surrounding the proposed development before passing judgment.

The Honolulu City Council first adopted a resolution requesting the mayor to come up with a Special Area Plan for Chinatown in January of 2010. In June of that year, the City Council adopted ordinance 10-12 (Bill 16 (2010), CD2) that further directed the mayor to create an affordable housing project on River Street. That was six years ago!

When the mayor sent out a press release on November 9th of last year announcing the $49 million development agreement, it was the first time that we learned that a developer was selected and negotiations completed.  Given that the Council did not have committee meetings in December, the earliest this proposal could have been considered was last month. Additionally, our February 17th meeting is scheduled at Kapolei Hale, a location that may limit public participation from the Chinatown community on this matter.

Given these facts, to assert that the Council may have scuttled the development by stalling for political purposes is false and misleading.

The Chinatown community is passionate and the views they represent should be heard before the full council, a position that Councilmember Carol Fukunaga has vigorously advocated for. It would be irresponsible to fast track a $49 million project without having such a public on-the-record discussion.


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