Koa Ridge is a master-planned residential community in central Oahu by Hawaii's 11th-wealthiest landowner, Castle & Cooke. Koa Ridge is opposed by the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter and the Mililani Neighborhood Board. Koa Ridge's effect on the local aquifer, on freeway traffic into Honolulu and the loss of agricultural land on which the development would sit are not high priorty for Castle & Cooke or the state and county planning agencies that were eager to approve the plans, opponents say.
The 6,000-to-7,500-home Central O‘ahu development consists of three subdivisions:
- Koa Ridge Makai on 572 acres, 1,247 homes.
- Waiawa on 191 acres, 1,100 homes.
- Koa Ridge Mauka on 486 acres, 3,000 homes.
In 2002, the Land Use Commission approved the zoning change from agricutural to urban designation for the Koa Ridge Makai and Waiawa areas. These two parcels encompass 763 acres and are expected to have approximately 3,000-4,500 units. The 486-acre Mauka parcel sits outside the Urban Growth Boundary, the line on the map broadly identifying areas that are either safe from or subject to potential development. Koa Ridge Mauka did not recieve LUC approval for a zoning change.
In September 2003, Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Hifo ruled that the Land Use Commission erred by reclassifying the Koa Ridge site from agriculture to urban before the developer had completed a formal environmental review.
On September 23, 2010, state Land Use Commission voted 7-1 to give preliminary approval to Koa Ridge Makai and Waiawa, with 3,500 homes, a hotel, a medical campus, school, parks and commercial space. 576 acres were reclassified by the commission, from agricultural to urban use. Another 192 acres of agriculture land nearby for the second phase of the project, known as Waiawa, was conditionally approved. Construction could begin next year and the first homes could be up by late 2012 or early 2013, according to the developer.
On October 15, 2010, the LUC gave final approval to both phases one and two of Koa Ridge.
On November 10, 2010, the Sierra Club appealed the reclassification of the 576 acres and to conditionally approve the reclassification of another 192 acres of agriculture land for phase two. The Sierra Club claims the commission's decision did not receive the necessary number of votes for approval because Duane Kanuha not qualified to serve as a commissioner.
- Welcome to Koa Ridge (John Pritchett)
- Pang, Gordon Y.K. Hearings on Koa Ridge Mililani development set to begin -- Castle & Cooke plans up to 7,500 homes on nearly 1,250 Central Oahu acres Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sept. 2, 2001.
- Thompson, Dave. The Battle of Koa Ridge -- Enviros and Neighbors take on Castle & Cooke's Massive Development Plans Honolulu Weekly, Oct. 22, 2003.
- Waite, David. Land use concern flares over Koa Ridge Honolulu Advertiser, Jan. 22, 2003.
- Leidermann, Mike. Review ordered for Koa Ridge site -- A judge says the state should have examined environmental impacts of the planned project By Diana Leone Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sept. 25, 2003.
- Sierra Club wins battle of Koa Ridge Hawaii Pacific News, Sept. 22, 2003.
- Ishikawa, Scott. Commission supports part of Koa Ridge project Honolulu Advertiser, June 12, 2002.
- Leidemann, Mike. Adding new infrastructure just a baby step, planners say Honolulu Advertiser, July 26, 2004.
- Ohira, Rod. Mililani residents urged to critique growth plan Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Dec. 5, 2005.
- Aquiar, Eloise. Koa Ridge review needed, court rules Honolulu Advertiser, January 28, 2006.
- Nakaso, Dan. Many say Central O'ahu's future looks too crowded Honolulu Advertiser, April 4, 2006.
- Pang, Gordon Y.K. It's a tale of 2 ridges — and 17,500 homes Honolulu Advertiser, May 29, 2007.
- Gomes, Andrew. Koa Ridge project given green light -- The state OKs the first phase of a community near Mililani despite the public's concerns, Star-Advertiser, September 24, 2010.
- Daranciang, Nelson. Group challenges Koa Ridge decision -- A vote to reclassify the land is not valid, the Sierra Club says, Star-Advertiser, November 12, 2010.