Developer lays out revised proposal for Haleiwa project
A development firm seeking to expand the core of historic Haleiwa Town on the North Shore with more businesses and homes has revised its plan to be more in line with the area’s rural character after a community backlash earlier this year.
Backyard Haleiwa LLC proposes to develop 156 rental apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on 7.5 acres of fallow former sugar cane land stretching behind one side of Haleiwa’s commercial district.
The company intends to seek a zoning change from agricultural and preservation uses to AMX-1 low-density apartment and B-1 neighborhood business uses, which allow less intensive development than what the firm considered earlier this year.
In February, a consultant for Backyard Haleiwa and a company that owns the property and is led by local developer and former politician D.G. “Andy” Anderson shared information with the North Shore Neighborhood Board that indicated the developer wanted to obtain BMX-3 community business mixed-use zoning, which allows uses including hotels, bars, automobile dealerships, self-storage facilities and wholesale distribution businesses.
The board voted 13-0 to oppose BMX-3 or any zoning change not in keeping with Haleiwa Town’s country character. The city Department of Planning and Permitting also informed the developer that BMX-3 isn’t generally associated with rural areas, and that other zoning options should be considered.
Existing zoning in the core of Haleiwa Town is mainly neighborhood and community business (B-1 and B-2)
with pockets of single-family residential (R-5).
Previously, Backyard Haleiwa did not specify how much commercial space or how many residential units were being considered for what was described in February as a very preliminary plan.
The environmental assessment said the 30,000 square feet of commercial space would include small retail shops, a restaurant, galleries and studios along with an indoor farmers market with permanent vendors operating daily.
Two-bedroom apartments in clusters of two-story buildings are aimed at providing affordable housing in close proximity to jobs in Haleiwa Town, the report said.
There also would be 328 parking spaces for residents, 115 spaces for business use and potentially 100 spaces to replace street parking that could be lost along the town’s main thoroughfare, Kamehameha Highway, as part of a street improvement plan.
The commercial buildings would front Opaeula Road on the backside of many existing businesses. The homes would be between Opaeula Road or the Backyard Haleiwa commercial area and the Haleiwa Bypass Road, also known as Joseph P. Leong Highway.
A company called Basin Project Inc. that is headed by Anderson bought the property in October for $1.9 million from Dole Food Co., according to property records.
The North Shore Sustainable Communities Plan, a city document, does allow for development and specifically suggests concentrating it along Kamehameha Highway near existing built areas makai of the bypass road.
Policies in the plan include objectives to “preserve and enhance the historic rural ‘small town’ character and allow for a compatible mix of commercial, service industrial and residential uses that complement the rural town context” and to “encourage multifamily housing (low-density apartment districts) and housing for resident senior citizens in close proximity to both Haleiwa and Waialua town centers.”
Kathleen Pahinui, neighborhood board chairwoman, said it’s hard to say whether the developer’s revised and more detailed plan will get the board’s endorsement, especially given that there is so much development going on in Haleiwa, including more housing, retail and a 7-Eleven that has upset many residents.
“We have development fatigue right now,” she said.
Backyard Haleiwa, which is led by Jon Grobe, is expected to make a presentation to the board before any zoning change application is acted upon by DPP, the Planning Commission and the City Council. The board’s vote is advisory but can influence the government decision-makers.-