Concern Rises Over Sharks Cove Area Development

Hundreds of concerned residents have shown up to the three separate North Shore community meetings this fall regarding the Honu Group Partners' plan to develop land just north of the Pupukea Foodland. The land currently has country-style doctor and dentist offices hidden among trees, including old-growth coconut palms.

"The proposed 75,000-square-foot community and commercial center plans to provide 180-220 full- and part-time jobs," according to Honu Group Partner and President Tom Applegate. "Pupukea Village will be composed of three one-story and two two-story, plantation-style buildings connected by covered walkways," Applegate said. "The plans are compliant with the city's zoning laws, and the widening of Kamehameha Highway to three lanes would prevent bottlenecking," he added. The plans also include 53 retail units with 259 underground parking stalls.

The B1 zoning is there for such a project, but concerns about the increased traffic and potential damage to the adjacent Pupukea Marine Conservation zone caused by runoff during and after construction, as well as effluent from waste treatment, are the main stumbling blocks.

A community group calling itself "Friends of Sharks Cove" (FSC) has formed to fend off the development. This group, led by Cora Sanchez, is a reincarnation of the Save Sunset Beach Coalition (which was involved in the National Audubon Society's recent management takeover of Waimea Valley, and against the gated community development and wall at Velzyland). The FSC group had large numbers compared to supporters of the development at the Haleiwa meeting. Most sported "Friends" t-shirts, passed out leaflets, hooted and made comments during the showing of their eight-minute public service announcement. Check their Web site at www.savesharkscove.org.

Two 20-minute public presentations have been given by both the proposed developer and the concerned community during the Sunset Beach Community Association meeting on Sept. 15. and the North Shore Neighborhood Board meeting on Oct. 26.

On November 16th, the Sunset Beach Community Association again addressed the development, and will be sending a letter to the appropriate channels to request a complete impact statement to be finished before any construction can begin. Such a request has already been made by the North Shore Neighborhood board.

During an informal survey of 50 people leaving Foodland, the community seems equally divided. Some want growth and jobs; others want no development due to traffic and environmental concerns. "The traffic is bad enough; some days it's stop and go, as it is. They put a Duke's or something in there and it's over; we will even have traffic at night!" said Richard Boyle, longtime North Shore resident, surfer and construction worker. According to Friends of Sharks Cove, the 1,014 restaurant seats in the Honu Group's plan are more than all the restaurant seats in Haleiwa combined.

"I'm tired of driving an hour or more each way to work. I think a Plaza like this would bring loads of jobs and the location is already commercial, so this is the best place along our treasured coast," said Jennifer Talong, Waialua resident.

Many top surfers, including Megan Abubo, Jack Johnson, Liam McNamara, and Chris Malloy have attended the meetings and voiced their concerns.