Kailua seeks balance

Businesses and jobs vs. preserving a residential community

(page 3 of 3)

Kailua Landlord’s Master Plan

Mitch D’Olier, president and CEO of Kaneohe Ranch, Kailua’s largest landowner, says major changes in the commercial part of Kailua date back to 2004, when leases on about 15 acres of the company’s land came up for renewal.

“Driving everything in Kailua was getting all these buildings back,” says D’Olier, who joined the company as its top manager around the same time.

“We had to decide what the right thing to do is and how do we position ourselves for the next 50 years.”

Kaneohe Ranch began with a community survey that year – getting back 3,000 mailed-in replies – and then scheduling several community meetings to gather additional sentiment. He says residents indicated they wanted a movie theater, and wanted to shop in Kailua, but didn’t want a Costco, Kmart or Walmart.

“A lot of them said they don’t want to leave Kailua, like ever,” he says. They also wanted the town to be pedestrian friendly and reflect a Hawaiian heritage. That’s why the ranch stages regular dance and music events next to Longs, in the same spot as the Thursday evening farmers market.

He says Kaneohe Ranch is picky about who gets leases in the renovated buildings. Guided by the community survey, the ranch chose Target and Whole Foods, and a series of small shops, such as Fighting Eel, whose designs are popular with younger women.

“We’re trying to create the coolest little place in Hawaii,” says D’Olier. “We’re trying to look for merchandise that would allow Kailua residents to never leave. And then there are judgment calls. There are things we do not think are appropriate. No Walmart, Kmart or Costco. There are a bunch of (Kailua) ladies who talk to me all the time about what they want. We have made choices that way.”

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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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