North Shore residents propose hub for first responders in place of a long-planned retail development

Opponents of a retail development on Oahu's North Shore are proposing a first responders hub instead.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 10:25 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2023 at 10:10 AM HST
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PUPUKEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - For years, there have been plans to develop a parcel of land in Pupukea that now have food trucks into a larger retail complex. Some North Shore residents now want to see something else put on the property.

Small retailers now operate in the area across from Shark’s Cove. But Hanapohaku LLC wants to build a 34,000 square foot shopping center called McCully’s Corner, with 126 parking stalls.

The Honolulu City Council recently approved a two-year extension on the developer’s permits.

“A major retail destination center. That’s what they call it, a major retail destination center,” said longtime North Shore resident Larry McElheny.

“This is actually the largest commercial development on the North Shore, we think, ever,” said Denise Antolini, Pupukea resident and a member of the Save Shark’s Cove Alliance.

“It is bigger than the Haleiwa Store Lots developed by Kamehameha Schools,” she added.

The Save Shark’s Cove Alliance says it has a better idea; it wants to use the property as a hub for first responders.

“How about we put the lifeguards on the property and get an ambulance, EMS, and services that really do cater to this surrounding community,” said McElheny.

“We could use a DOCARE office, maybe an EMT, urgent care, a police substation,” said Rex Dubiel Shanahan, vice president of the North Shore Outdoor Circle. “We need those facilities here in our neighborhood because it’s growing and growing and growing.”

The city council unanimously approved the development five years ago, but numerous city delays forced a vote on the permit extension last month.

North Shore councilmember Matt Weyers was the only vote against the extension. he wasn’t able to talk on camera Friday, but said city officials are discussing the possibility of acquiring the property for first responders.

“He’s representing our neighborhood, so I was hoping that the other council members would take his lead and if he knows best for his constituents, they would then have also rejected the extension,” said Shanahan.

Hanapohaku said in a statement that the proposed center is one-third the size that is allowed under current zoning, and that it followed all the city’s rules.

The developer also settled a lawsuit with North Shore groups in 2021 by agreeing to concessions, including a promise to serve the community. Hanapohaku said the development will provide jobs and services for the surrounding area.

Opponents say it still falls short.

“To me, the main issue is that it’s just too big and it’s in the wrong place,” said McElheny.

Opponents are still hoping to stop the development before the two-year permit extension is up.