Thursday, April 26, 2012
Honolulu Weekly: The Hoopili controversy in depth
by Larry Geller
A controversy such as whether to develop a good hunk of Oahu’s best agricultural land into housing deserves all the space it needs in the press. Unfortunately, our commercial press seldom steps forward to do this.
Honolulu Weekly published a lengthy article yesterday that is a must-read for anyone concerned with sustainability, urban sprawl, water issues, or “land and power in Hawaii.” The unfortunate headline Is There Hope for Hoopili? (Honolulu Weekly, 4/25/2012) tops an excellent overview of the struggles over this tract of land and names the players involved.
(I’m much more fond of the sidebar head THE LAND USE COMMISSION: WHO’S WHOse, describing appointees who are supposed to represent “a cross-section of the community.” )
Snipping from this article is difficult because it’s all important. The author starts off by visiting the land itself. Later, he describes expert testimony on its quality:
Jonathan Deenik, a professor of soil science at UH, has a face weathered by long hours working in the field. What he knows is soil, Deenik testified, and one of the best in the Islands is a type called “Honouliuli Clay,” a rich, black variety that covers over 20 percent of the Hoopili land. Fully 90 percent of the parcel consists of highly fertile clays, “alluvial debris,”–volcanic materials washed down from the central Oahu plateau and gradually spread over the limestone underlayment of the flat ‘Ewa Plain, which was once under the ocean. Although excellent for farming, Deenik added in passing, building houses there will be difficult over this type of clay, famous for its instability.
Do check out the article at the link above. There isn’t anything comparable on TV or in the dailies.
For a presentation by the developers, the Interfaith Alliance similarly gave them sufficient time to fully explain their plans. You can view How Will We Live and Where? (Interfaith Alliance Hawaii, 3/7/2012) on their website.