De­vel­oper of site near Sharks Cove tack­les out­cry from com­mu­nity

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - MONEY - By An­drew Gomes agomes@starad­ver­tiser.com

We’re sorry and we’ll start over.

That was the mea culpa two lo­cal real es­tate in­vestors had for North Shore res­i­dents re­gard­ing an ef­fort to de­velop land near Sharks Cove in a way some com­mu­nity mem­bers saw as sneaky and as a strat­egy to skirt strin­gent city en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions.

An­drew Yani of Hanapo­haku LLC apol­o­gized to roughly 100 peo­ple at a spe­cial meet­ing of the North Shore Neigh­bor­hood Board on Wed­nes­day night.

“We cer­tainly of­fer a big apol­ogy if we’ve of­fended any­body or we’ve done some­thing that you think is un­fair or wrong,” he said. “We should have en­gaged you sooner. I’m ter­ri­bly sorry for that. We’d like to start with a clean slate.”

The neigh­bor­hood board or­ga­nized the meet­ing to air com­mu­nity con­cerns raised in re­cent months re­gard­ing per­mit­ting for Hanapo­haku’s com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment plan for 2.7 acres next to Food­land in Pupukea — a plan that gal­va­nized res­i­dents to print up and don light-blue “Malama Sharks Cove” T-shirts.

Res­i­dents also have been frus­trated with how the prop­erty has been man­aged since Hanapo­haku bought it for $5.5 mil­lion in July 2014.

The prop­erty, which is zoned for “neigh­bor­hood busi­ness” use, was pro­posed

for a roughly 50-ten­ant re­tail cen­ter about a dozen years ago by another de­vel­oper, which ran into heavy com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion. Since then the prop­erty had been some­what ne­glected and oc­cu­pied pri­mar­ily by a den­tist, a surf shop and two food trucks.

Af­ter the ac­qui­si­tion by Hanapo­haku, whose other prin­ci­pal is Lawrence “Cully” McCully Judd III, the den­tal of­fice closed and six more food trucks moved in, and il­le­gal struc­tures were built on the prop­erty.

Mean­while, Hanapo­haku ap­plied for three “mi­nor” spe­cial man­age­ment area per­mits from the city so the com­pany could add six cot­tage­like build­ings to the prop­erty for re­tail use, plus a re­stroom and sev­eral in­di­vid­ual waste­water sys­tems.

SMA per­mits gov­ern de­vel­op­ment in ar­eas close to the ocean to con­trol im­pacts on the shore­line and ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment. Un­der city rules, mi­nor SMA per­mits are for projects that cost no more than $500,000. For projects above that thresh­old, a ma­jor SMA per­mit is re­quired and in­volves a more strin­gent re­view that in­cludes a pub­lic hear­ing. An en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment or more thor­ough en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment study also can be re­quired for ma­jor SMA per­mits.

Hanapo­haku ap­plied for three mi­nor SMAs each val­ued at about $500,000 for a to­tal of $1.5 mil­lion, which was per­mit­ted be­cause the 2.7-acre prop­erty is made up of three sep­a­rate parcels. The city De­part­ment of Plan­ning and Per­mit­ting ap­proved the per­mits.

Yani, whose com­pany trade­marked the name Sharks Cove Vil­lage, said in an in­ter­view that the ef­fort was an at­tempt to im­prove what had par­tially be­come a dump­ing ground in a cost-ef­fec­tive and rel­a­tively fast way.

“We wanted to make some­thing nice quickly and help im­prove the com­mu­nity,” he said. “We thought we were just tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for do­ing the right thing.”

Yani added that the six build­ings were to be 600 square feet each. “We didn’t want some­thing that was high-im­pact,” he said.

At the meet­ing, Yani said Hanapo­haku will nix the three mi­nor SMA per­mits and ap­ply for a ma­jor SMA per­mit af­ter col­lect­ing more com­mu­nity in­put and de­cid­ing how the prop­erty can be de­vel­oped to pri­mar­ily serve res­i­dents.

The com­pany also will seek one mi­nor SMA per­mit so it can fix up what is al­ready on the prop­erty and pos­si­bly add a bath­room so that food truck cus­tomers don’t keep over­whelm­ing the pub­lic bath­room on the makai side of the high­way.

Ter­rence Lee, a lo­cal at­tor­ney re­tained by Hanapo­haku, said the de­vel­oper would like to have some­one open up a lo­cally owned and op­er­ated cof­fee shop in the empty former den­tist build­ing. He also said other fu­ture ten­ants could be a phar­macy, ur­gent care clinic and a den­tist. “These are just ideas,” he said. “Noth­ing is cast in con­crete. It’s all sub­ject to dis­cus­sion and col­lab­o­ra­tion.”

Yani added that the food trucks could be part of a re­de­vel­oped prop­erty, and pledged to set up a web­site to share a draft of the ma­jor SMA per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore it is filed so the com­mu­nity can see what gets pro­posed.

Many res­i­dents com­mended Yani for the com­mit­ment and apol­ogy, and seemed hope­ful that Hanapo­haku comes up with a plan that is sen­si­tive to com­mu­nity con­cerns. Still, oth­ers ap­peared wary of what might get per­mit­ted next.

“Right now I’m re­ally con­fused what the plan is,” said Denise An­tolini, a Univer­sity of Hawaii law school pro­fes­sor and North Shore res­i­dent.

Lynelle DaMate, vice pres­i­dent of the Sun­set Beach Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion, said the food truck site has be­come dan­ger­ous, with in­creased ve­hi­cle and pedes­trian traf­fic.

“Some­one’s go­ing to lose a (car) door, some­one’s go­ing to lose a child,” she said.

Mike Lyons, a neigh­bor­hood board mem­ber, said it seems the food trucks op­er­ate more like per­ma­nent restau­rants with seat­ing ar­eas, yet they lack re­strooms that are nec­es­sary for op­er­at­ing a restau­rant.

“We don’t get our plate lunch and leave,” he said. “We stay there and eat. It’s no longer a food truck, it’s a restau­rant.”

Yani es­ti­mated that each truck serves be­tween 100 and 200 meals a day, or 800 to 1,600 to­tal. Liam McNamara, a North Shore pro surfer who owns about a third of the busi­nesses on the prop­erty in­clud­ing the surf shop, said Yani’s es­ti­mate was high and that 1,000 food sales per day in­clud­ing shave ice is a bet­ter es­ti­mate.

As for de­vel­op­ment, the com­mu­nity gen­er­ally doesn’t want to see a dense project aimed at tourists. Some­thing along those lines was pro­posed a lit­tle over a decade ago by lo­cal re­tail de­vel­op­ment firm Honu Group Inc.: a 59,000-square-foot cen­ter called Pupukea Vil­lage with space for 53 stores, un­der­ground park­ing for about 200 cars and space for com­mer­cial buses to drop off tourists.

Some North Shore res­i­dents wel­comed the project, but what was de­scribed as a vo­cal ma­jor­ity protested the plan by cre­at­ing pe­ti­tions, mak­ing signs and bumper stick­ers that said “No mall at Sharks Cove” and form­ing the non­profit Friends of Sharks Cove.

Now an off­shoot of the non­profit, called Sharks Cove Coali­tion, has been formed amid Hanapo­haku’s ef­fort. This group isn’t op­posed to com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment on the site as long as it con­forms to the B-1 neigh­bor­hood busi­ness zon­ing that the city’s land use or­di­nance said is in­tended to “pro­vide rel­a­tively small ar­eas which serve the daily re­tail and other busi­ness needs of the sur­round­ing pop­u­la­tion.”

“This area is so pre­cious,” said area res­i­dent Laura Par­sons. “We’re caught be­tween tourism and keep­ing our life­style.”

Board mem­ber Jack Reid ex­pressed con­cern that Hanapo­haku will pur­sue ma­jor re­tail, such as a Wal­greens, given the costlier per­mit­ting process.

McNamara, how­ever, bris­tled at some of the sug­ges­tions that a large-scale project is in­tended.

“These guys did not buy this prop­erty to make money,” he said. “They bought the prop­erty to keep the coun­try coun­try. It’s not go­ing to be a Wal­greens, and it’s not go­ing to be a Longs. I care about the cove as much as any­one here. All you guys in light-blue shirts, I’m with you. I’m on your team. Let’s re­al­ize that Hanapo­haku is the best peo­ple that we can pos­si­ble have to buy this prop­erty. They might have made a few mis­takes by not com­ing to you guys early, but at the end of the day, let’s work to­gether and fig­ure out so­lu­tions.”

Yani, who runs lo­cal so­lar power com­pany Bon­terra So­lar, said part of the mis­steps stemmed from he and Judd, the other prin­ci­pal, not be­ing pro­fes­sional real es­tate de­vel­op­ers. He said Hanapo­haku will work to do bet­ter both man­ag­ing the prop­erty and craft­ing de­vel­op­ment plans.

“We want to work with you guys,” he said. “We would like to be good neigh­bors. We would like to be good stew­ards of the land.”

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARAD­VER­TISER.COM

Wash­ing­ton state vis­i­tors Carolyn Nielsen, right, and Klaus Loos en­joy shave ice at a site where food trucks and other busi­nesses are at Sharks Cove in Pupukea.

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