November 18, 2010 – KONA, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar
On Wednesday, the Hawaii County Council cleared the way for Forest City Hawaii’s Kamakana Villages project to move forward.
Meeting in Kona, the council approved code exemptions requested by the developer of the mixed use and affordable housing near Kealakehe High School. Forest City’s managing developer Race Randall was happy with the decision.
With 272-acres of retail, schools, and housing located along the future Ane Keohokalole Highway, many in Kona hope the project will jump-start the economy and give locals a place to live.
However, the large mixed use development in North Kona raised some eyebrows with the recent exemption requests. South Kona councilwoman Brenda Ford took a strong stand against the proposals.
Kelly Greenwell, the outgoing councilmember of the North Kona district where the planned project is located, supported the project, but praised Ford’s effort.
Hamakua councilman Dominic Yagong, who had been skeptical about the project exemptions, voted in support after going on a site visit to Forest City’s Oahu developments.
Randall also acknowledged the council’s hope that Kamakana Villages employs a Big Island workforce during the future construction phase, saying it would be “foolish” not to do so.