Kailua seeks balance

Businesses and jobs vs. preserving a residential community

(page 2 of 3)

From Annoying to Dangerous

Randy Cates, who runs a marine salvage business, remembers a popular Kailua canoe regatta a few years ago when the races were interrupted four times because visitors in kayaks paddled into the way of oncoming Hawaiian canoes.

“I was sitting with an old-time paddler, Cappy Vickery, one of my dad’s paddling buddies, and he said, ‘How is it that we have a Hawaiian sport that had to have a permit, being stopped by kayak companies that don’t have permits?’ ”

Sometimes encounters with tourists are more dangerous. Many residents have stories of helping tourists who couldn’t control their kayaks in Kailua’s normal conditions, who capsized or were drifting out to sea. Some swimmers have even been banged by wayward kayaks.

Kailua Bay’s popularity with locals and visitors means there are frequent offshore rescues. However, when rescuers or ambulances have to drive in and out of Lanikai and Kailua Beach Park on busy days, they have to navigate narrow streets lined with cars – many parked illegally – or jammed with traffic.

Capt. Terry Seelig, spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department, says not all incidents are recorded, so comprehensive numbers are not available. However, he believes the number of rescues in Kailua has remained relatively stable over the past two years. For the 13 months from March 2011 through March 2012, records indicate 28 active “ocean rescue responses” in Kailua Bay and Lanikai, averaging­ more than two a month. These include boaters and kayakers in distress, and various other calls. There were 56 other dispatches to the Kailua Bay area, which included medical calls and others. Those rescued include both locals and tourists.

He acknowledged that there are many calls that don’t make it into the HFD logs, including rescues and assistance by county lifeguards, by officers of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and by private citizens.

Seelig, who grew up in Kailua and on its beach, sees the increased competition for beach and trail access in Kailua. “It’s just a pressure-cooker situation,” he says. “It used to be more relaxed, but it’s changed.”

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Jul 9, 2012 01:19 pm
 Posted by  Nosurf

Please let the town grow. I am tired of paying $15.00 for a bottle of sunscreen in Kailua when I get 2x the amount for 1/3 of the price at Costco or Target. I am not stinking rich like people in Lanikai who only live here 1/4 of the year and own stores in Kailua as hobby. "There are a bunch of (Kailua) ladies who talk to me all the time about what they want." Why do you let these elite women decide on what goes in Kailua. No wonder we got Whole Foods instead a store that normal people can afford

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Jul 16, 2012 08:09 pm
 Posted by  EML

Kailua is a wonderful place to live. We are really fortunate. While I wish a traffic study would have been completed BEFORE Target was engaged, I do appreciate what Kaneohe Ranch has done so far. We participated in the community meetings and are pleased that we will have more opportunities for a walking environment. Balance is indeed difficult, and as we all know, you cannot please 100% of us 100% of the time. BTW, not all people who live in Lanikai are rich and Whole Foods rocks.

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Jul 20, 2012 04:34 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

Overall, we believe Hawaii Business Magazine has portrayed the imbalances of Kailua’s growth and development accurately, but there are issues that deserve greater detail and quotes in the article that should be questioned.

The core issues facing Kailua are the negative impacts of “tourism sprawl” on the Kailua and should the Kailua adhere to our sustainable-community plans and Oahu’s General Plan and remain a residential community.

Jul 20, 2012 04:37 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

The two “big elephants” in the room affecting these core issues are illegal lodging businesses in residential zoning and Kaneohe Ranch’s covert efforts to turn Kailua into a resort destination. The issue of allowing visitor lodging in Oahu’s residential neighborhoods has been settled.

Jul 20, 2012 04:38 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

In 1987, it was determined these businesses were non-conforming for residential zoning and again in 2010, the residential community decided they did not want to change the law by defeating City Council bills that would have allowed them in residential neighborhoods.

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Jul 20, 2012 04:40 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

Illegal vacation rentals and B&B hotels have numerous negative impacts to a residential community, but their most damaging impact is how they reduce the housing supply for local residents and alter the residential character of the community. Having permanent neighbors in our neighborhoods is the glue that welds and strengthens the stability of the community. Neighbors participate in local government, coach little league, volunteer at the library, and keep an eye on an elderly neighbor.

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Jul 20, 2012 04:41 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

In regards to Kaneohe Ranch, everyone in Kailua knows their improvements to the town center and their selection of tenants are not being made to serve the needs of the residents. After all, how many gawky tourist-oriented stores does a small residential community need? You don’t see these types of stores in Manoa, Kaimuki or Hawaii Kai. Certainly not the half-a-dozen plus stores we now have!

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Jul 20, 2012 04:43 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

Kailua was put on the tourism map by the illegal vacation rental operators who have thousands of website promoting Kailua as a resort destination and Kaneohe Ranch’s mass-marketing of the community via their tour-bus partners.

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Jul 20, 2012 04:44 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

Kailua is designated a residential community and the vast majority of Kailua residents want to keep it that way. The illegal vacation rental and B&B hotels in our residential neighborhoods must be shut down and the leadership at Kaneohe Ranch needs to acknowledge the desires of the community to remain a “residential community”. If these two problems are not resolved, Kailua will continue to be imbalanced and ultimately be transformed into a second Waikiki.

Jul 20, 2012 04:47 pm
 Posted by  Keep It Kailua

Kailua Neighborhood Board President Chuck Prentiss said it best when he stated “The (Oahu) General Plan designates other parts of the island as resort destinations…let’s not make a mockery out of our strategic planning process”.

Keep it Kailua

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