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Community invited to give input on future projects surrounding Hālawa's rail station

Hālawa rail station next to Aloha Stadium and Pearl Harbor
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Aerial photograph of the Hālawa rail station next to Aloha Stadium and Pearl Harbor.

The city's Department of Planning and Permitting is hosting a community meeting Tuesday evening to discuss Hālawa's transit-oriented development (TOD) plan.

The meeting will cover zoning and land use changes to the area, which are predicted to pave the way for housing and commercial developments along the Honolulu rail line. It will be held at ʻAiea Elementary's cafeteria at 5:30 p.m.

The Honolulu City Council approved plans for the Hālawa TOD special district in 2020, which covers Aloha Stadium, ʻAiea Elementary School, the Puʻuwai Momi public housing district and parts of Salt Lake.

DPP is proposing several changes to expand land use, allowing higher density and heights for projects.

"The zoning changes will include mixed-use zoning, which allows for both residential and commercial on the same property," said Tim Streitz, DPP's acting TOD administrator.

"Then the TOD special district, which accompanies that, allows for additional regulation on top of that underlying zoning," he said.

Casey Harlow

Streitz said that could include regulations for developments that are pedestrian-friendly, such as pushing buildings close to the street and putting vehicle parking behind buildings.

Hālawa is the third TOD special district to implement changes to the city's plans. The other two are Waipahu and Pearl City.

Although the state owns most of the land along the rail corridor, Hālawa is unique because of what is in the area, Streitz said.

"A lot of the neighborhood is comprised of state properties," he said.

With the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) and Puʻuwai Momi public housing, Streitz said there are requests for qualifications to get a master developer to redevelop the areas.

Proposals for the new Aloha Stadium include enough room to fit 25,000 to 30,000 seats, as well as commercial and residential developments nearby.

However, Gov. Josh Green delayed any action on the $450 million project, saying the planned public-private partnership was too expensive. Green proposed a potentially smaller project earlier this year, that could open by 2027.

In addition to Aloha Stadium, the state public housing authority is proposing the redevelopment of the nearby Puʻuawai Momi public housing complex. HPHA plans to add more housing units to the property in order to meet its goal of creating 10,000 more new, affordable housing units. The authority plans to add roughly 1,700 more units to the property.

As work to accommodate these future projects advances, Streitz said that DPP is working closely with the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development with infrastructure upgrade plans to accommodate future development in Hālawa and other neighborhoods along the rail line.

"TOD is about supporting higher density uses near the station because that's where you can concentrate more people in a walkable distance to the rail," Streitz said.

"But a lot of those neighborhoods would also need more infrastructure to actually fulfill the visions of those TOD neighborhoods," he continued.

After Tuesday's meeting, DPP will take its recommendations to the city's planning commission, which will make a recommendation to Honolulu City Council for review and approval.

More information about the city's transit-oriented development plans can be found at honolulu.gov/tod.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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