My Meeting With O’oma Developers and `Aina Mauna Legacy Program

On August 19th I received the following email:

From: ********
Subject: Project briefing
Date: Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 3:08 PM

Project briefing Aloha Damon,

Hope all is well with you.

Current Events is assisting O‘oma with updating community members about its collaborative plans for a master-planned beachside residential community. As you may know O‘oma is situated between NELHA and Kohanaiki in Kona. The project has started its zoning process, having finished the Final EIS.

Would you have some time to meet with Peter Young and Ross Wilson Thursday, September 3? It should only take about an hour of your time. They can meet you in Hilo at HIEDB conference room or in Pahoa if that’s more convenient for you.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


I didn’t really know why they were contacting me other then it was probably because of something I had said on my blog and they wanted to correct me or tell me something.

I met with Mr. Young and Mr. Wilson at Luquins yesterday and they told me that their intentions of the meeting was more of a “Blogger Briefing” similar to those that they held with the TMT project.

They also told me that they do hold local blogs in high regards and did contact other bloggers and were meeting with a few of them as well.

I’ve met Mr. Wilson on a few other occasions and I know that it is his job to sell the community on different projects that are going on around the Big Island so I went into this meeting knowing ahead of time that whatever they were going to push towards me… was going to be a bit of a “Sell” so to speak.

The first part of the meeting we discussed the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands “`Aina Mauna Legacy Program” and they gave me a 12 page executive summary of the project.

Here is the last few paragraphs on the first page of the Summary (the first few just explained what Hawaiian Home Lands is)

DHHL seeks to restore portions of the Humu`ula/Pi`ihonua lands in perpetuity to conserve these native forests and natural habitats for future generations. In doing so the Department is looking beyond housing and into a more holistic approach for communities and land management. By placing these lands in non-housing or ranching, the area can be used as a model and has the potential of serving as a sustainable land unit.

DHHL believes that the Humu`ula/Pi`ihonua lands have the potential for serving as a sustainable native forest and land unit by simultaneously providing environmental, economic and social benefits to the trust and its beneficiaries, in perpetuity.

Therefore, the `Aina Mauna Legacy Program is to be developed to take into consideration not only the immediate needs of the area, but also how best to manage the legacy for the area for future generations. By creating a sustainable plan for the area, the lands can be conserved while also providing an economic resource for DHHL and it’s beneficiaries.”

So basically, what they seem to be wanting to do is place Hawaiian families up on top of Mauna Kea.

One of my first thoughts that I expressed with Mr. Young and Mr. Wilson… was where would the families fish and grow their food.

An interesting response… was something to the effect that they could grow and raise Koa up their on the mountains and then sell it.

I restated… Hawaiians aren’t as interested in money, as they are in being able to gather foods and live sustainably.

We bounced a few ideas off each other and I scanned over the documents they presented me on this.  It was the first I had heard of the project so I really didn’t have too much to say… and just based things off of my prior knowledge of things.

I did ask if there was much online about this project and there really isn’t at this point.

Here is a picture of the area on top of Mauna Kea being looked at:

Area on Mauna Kea for the Planned `Aina Mauna Legacy Program

Area on Mauna Kea for the Planned `Aina Mauna Legacy Program

Conversation then switched over to the planned O`oma Development on the property sitting next to NELHA.

They showed me the conceptual plan of this “NON Gated Community” that will be between 950 and 1200 units.

There is only one planned Charter school in the Development and the nearest public school is Kealakehe.

Here is the first paragraph from the 8 page document they gave me on this planned development:

`O’oma Beachside Village is intended to be a master planned Beachside residential community, to include single and multi-family housing options, along with live-work units, and a full range of mixed uses including commercial uses, preserves, parks, trails and shoreline accesss, to be developed on approximately 302 acres of land.  A total of approximately 950-1200 residential untis, including affordable residential units, are planned for `O’oma Beachside Village.  No residences will be located within 1,100 feet of the shoreline…

They really pressed that the project was aligned with Kona Community Development plan, which I don’t know much about, so can’t say if they were or not.

The Shores of Kohanaiki golf course borders it on the south and NELHA borders the North of it.

While they did emphasize that this was meant for Kama’aina folks and that there would be “affordable” housing… when I pressed for a number on what they considered was “affordable” they pretty much squeaked around the question and gave me Percentages… that didn’t equate to much and I didn’t feel like pressing the issue.

Today I got the following email and I will just say that it sure does seem like they are putting words in my mouth already:

“From: “Peter T Young”
Cc: “‘Ross Wilson'”


Thank you for meeting with us to discuss the `O`oma Beachside Village project proposal. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to what is being proposed.

We certainly appreciate your thoughts about the project. I think you will agree with us that:
• `O`oma Beachside Village is consistent with the Principles and Elements of the Kona CDP
• `O`oma has Expansive Coastal Open Space and an Unprecedented 1,100+ foot Coastal Setback
• `O`oma is Significantly Different than Prior Proposals and is Targeted for the Local Residents, not Resort Second Homes
• `O`oma Proposes Kona’s First Desalination Facility for its Water Source
• `O`oma will Conduct Extensive Water Monitoring and Incorporate a Pollution Prevention Program
• `O`oma will be Concurrent with Transportation Infrastructure
• `O`oma will Continue to Work with Descendents Throughout Planning and Development
• `O`oma Beachside Village will Not Inhibit Coastal Access and No Traditional and Customary Practices will be Impacted
• `O`oma will generate 380 full-time Jobs in the first half of its development phase through direct, indirect and induced impacts; once completed; `O`oma is expected to provide 480 permanent full-time Jobs on-site.

If you have any questions, please contact us at your convenience. As the project moves forward we will keep you informed on the status.

Thanks, again,

Peter T. Young, President
Ho`okuleana LLC
… to take responsibility …

And here is a picture of the proposed O`oma Development:

950 - 1200 Planned Units Next to NELHA

950 - 1200 Planned Units Next to NELHA

8 Responses

  1. So did you bother to correct them? If youn feel as though they put words in your mouth, then it’s on you to ensure that doesn’t get perpetuated.
    I don’t mean to disrespect you, but if you’re going to take the responsibility, then you have to take it the whole way. If you choose to meet with people (which was a good choice, I believe) and hear what they have to say, then it’s also your choice to let them, or not let them, put words in your mouth.
    You make the claim that you’re simply passing along information, but you’re doing much more than that, and I think you realize it. I don’t understand why, but it’s disheartening to hear that you would meet with these guys and not agree with them, but not voice that to them. You local bloggers do have a voice and an impact, and it is becoming more and more important to work with you. But if you only use that voice online, then why bother? You come to a meeting and nod your head, then leave and write a post like this? Nothing accomplished…

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