Mayor Mufi Hannemann Denies
Public’s Right to Recreational Areas


For the past three or four years the Hannemann Administration has known about illegal businesses being conducted by a group called Ford Island Ventures, located in a P-2 preservation zone known as the ”Caves at Waikele."  At the same time, the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) has been struggling with Hannemann’s desire to keep the illegal activities going.    

The site, known as “the caves”  is a former military munitions storage area.   For zoning purposes, it was originally classified as military F-1, but, after it was abandoned by the military and no longer used for munitions storage, it was automatically rezoned or reclassified as a P-2 general preservation district. 

Although the DPP has no zoning authority over F-1 military, the DPP does administer the zoning code in P-2 districts.   Land Use Ordinance Section 21-3.40  states that the purpose of the preservation districts is to preserve major open spaces and recreational lands.  The purpose of F-1 military zoning is to identify military areas and permit all military activities.   Section 21-3.40 clearly states “should land be removed from either the state designated conservation district or from federal jurisdiction, all uses, structures and development standards shall be as specified for the P-2 general preservation district”.    Therefore, the land is zoned P-2 and that was confirmed by the DPP in their January 7, 2008, letter to the agent representing the business, Ford Island Ventures.   

 Furthermore, the DPP produced a zoning report dated October 1, 2008, which states that “self storage rental use is not permitted in the P-2 district and is a violation of the zoning code”.  Furthermore, DPP Planner Raymond Young placed an advisory on the property on September 11, 2008, saying that “industrial activity is unauthorized”.


The DPP’s January 7, 2008, letter also states that the Central Oahu Sustainable Community Plan designates Waikele Gulch as part of the Central Oahu Open Space Network and is to be preserved for its scenic resources and recreational values.  The plan is for a ravine recreational network, featuring trails and passive open spaces.  The DPP stated “the operation of a commercial storage facility within the subject parcel is inconsistent with the Sustainable Community Plan”. 

For more than a year I have complained to the Hannemann Administration that legal actions should be taken to shut down the facility and open up the area for public enjoyment, as required.   Instead, Hannemann’s administration has ignored my complaints and my queries into this illegal activity, and has ignored its own Department of Planning and Permitting which has already determined that my complaint is valid and the property is in violation of zoning laws.  Instead of doing what is legally required, Hannemann is now employing other delaying tactics, such as claiming that I gave them the wrong tax map key numbers or the advisory by the planner was not relevant. 

Since receiving my complaint they have asked the Corporation Counsel to determine if DPP has any jurisdiction over the Waikele Caves Storage and its industrial uses, in the Central Oahu Open Space Network and the Sustainable Community Plan,  or zoning authority over P-2 preservation zoned property.  As if these excuses weren’t lame enough, Mr. Alex Sugai, Building Inspector Supervisor, offered more lame excuses in response to my compliant.  He told me that the numerous letters written by the former DPP Director, Henry Eng, and his staff, did not matter.  He said it is now being handled by David Tanoue, the current Director of DPP, and only what he says matters.   Mr. Sugai was instructed to tell me to contact Mr. Tanoue if I didn’t like his answer or response.  Hopefully, Hannemann will do the right thing, and open the area to the public so they can enjoy and appreciate this beautiful canyon.


Wouldn't this be a beautiful park !!