The Honolulu Planning Commission is scheduled to consider a zone change application next week for D.R. Horton’s 11,750-home development in West Oahu known as Hoopili.

The hearing will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Hale Ponoi Building at 91-5420 Kapolei Parkway in Kapolei. It is likely to feature opposition from environmentalists and other activists who are worried about how the long-debated project will affect traffic and the availability of farmland in Hawaii.

Hoopili Rail Construction Kapolei West Oahu DR Horton Tractor Aloun Farms

Farming still takes place alongside rail construction at the site of the planned Hoopili development.

Anita Hofschneider/Civil Beat

George Atta, director of the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting, issued a report Oct. 30 recommending that the Planning Commission approve the zone change for more than 1,200 acres. If the commission votes in favor the application, it will go before the Honolulu City Council.

The Hoopili project has been controversial since D.R. Horton sought approval from the state Land Use Commission in 2010. A lawsuit by the environmental group Sierra Club and state Sen. Clayton Hee argues that the state has a constitutional obligation to protect important agricultural land. The case is pending before the state Supreme Court.

Kioni Dudley from the group Friends of Makakilo was behind a second lawsuit challenging the development that lost an appeal earlier this month. But he hasn’t given up hope.

He already sent a letter to the planning commission arguing that the city’s draft Traffic Impact Analysis Report should have been accepted by the city’s Department of Transportation Services prior to D.R. Horton submitting its rezoning application to the city. Dudley also said that the project is missing approval from the Navy to allow storm water from the development to intersect Navy-owned land.

“I believe we need to attack from every side,” he told Civil Beat on Wednesday, noting that he’s been writing to numerous people encouraging them to attend next week’s meeting. In addition to testifying at the planning commission meeting, he’s also working on a motion to the Land Use Commission to ask them to take the case back.

“There’s all kinds of possibility here,” he said. “It’s not a lost cause.”

But as rail construction continues on top of the farmland that’s pegged for the Hoopili development, the project is appearing more and more like a done deal. Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting Director George Atta disputed Dudley’s claims, saying that DTS did approve the traffic analysis and that the Navy isn’t required to provide a letter at this time. Cameron Nekota, vice president at D.R. Horton Hawaii, also said DTS accepted the TIAR on July 16 and that no official letters are required from the Navy.

“The State Office of Planning and the Land Use Commission have recognized that the necessary documents have been received,” Nekota said in a statement. “We look forward to appearing next week before the City and County of Honolulu Planning Commission, the next step in creating Hoopili as a community of attainable housing for Hawaii’s working families, a source of good jobs for West Oahu, and a hub for multi-modal transportation. We are pleased that the meeting is scheduled in East Kapolei, affording West Oahu residents a convenient opportunity to be heard.”

For more background on the issue, read Civil Beat’s previous story about what’s at stake.

Read DPP’s latest report on the project below:

About the Author