For more than a decade, Kuliouou Valley residents and local nonprofits have worked to preserve Paiko Ridge from development.
Back in 2013, then Honolulu City Council member Stanley Chang first proposed the city allocate $3.5 million to purchase 205 undeveloped acres of steep ridge land on the Ewa side of the valley, looming over houses on Kaeleloi Place. The Paiko Ridge proposal went through all the council’s approval processes.
The commission, which is still being formed, will review fiveconservation projects — including Paiko Ridge — that are seeking $10,533,000, and make its recommendation to the city council.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated how the review process works.
Sandra Pfund, director of the Department of Land Management, told the council during a meeting earlier this month that she can’t guarantee that money for the Paiko Ridge project will be on the initial priority list.
City Council member Trevor Ozawa said he fears that the price of the land will rise by the time the commission makes a decision. The land is in his district, and he has been working to secure the funds since he was elected in 2014.
“My fear of the current situation is that Sandra Pfund and the administration take too long to get the project back through this new process that was sprung upon us with surprise,” Ozawa said.
That’s triggered opposition from neighborhood residents and community members concerned that more development will worsen existing flooding and water runoff problems in the area.
On the top of the ridge, — outside of the residential zone — is what might be Oahu’s last remaining intact moku boundary, a dry-stack wall native Hawaiians used to mark the boundary line between districts, said Anne Marie Kirk, a local filmmaker and community activist. Kirk manages maunalua.net, a website that preserves native stories about the land that is now Hawaii Kai.
“When you’re up there you can see what our kupuna were seeing,” she said.
A previous proposal from a company called Paiko Ridge Partners to build a large luxury home subdivision was abandoned because of community opposition, said Ozawa.
In the 1980s, heavy rainfall caused a landslide on the same valley wall near the proposed development, said Waipa Parker, founder of the group Protect Kuliouou.
The curve of Papahehi Place still shows marks of that damage: The asphalt is cracked and filled with unpredictable dips. All that is left of the houses that were condemned by the state are the broken concrete slabs of what were once driveways.
REPORTING ON HAWAII’S BIGGEST ISSUES
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