Viewpoint for Saturday — October 15, 2005

• ‘Good men’ must take up the fight

‘Good men’ must take up the fight

By Theodore H. Drews

One must proceed very gingerly if one proposes to criticize Grove Farm in that all the facets and details of this vast conglomerate are more than the non-financial mind can encompass. Grove Farm’s own description of its operations are so vast that one can only consider one small piece at a time.

However, those of us with limited capacity can understand the concept of money and we can think of millions of dollars, indeed, many millions of dollars in connection with a very small but profitable Grove Farm project, the Golf Estates Subdivision. These are eighteen prime, very large residential lots in the middle of the golf course. Calling them “Estates” is very meaningful. Some of the lots are three or four times the size of the modest lots in the nearby Ulu Ko subdivision. There are beautiful views of the mountains and the golf course, and some of the mansions built there will have a view of the sea. All the lots are on dead-end streets and there will never be any through traffic to trouble the residents. The shape of the subdivision would seem to invite fences and gates. One might estimate that the entire subdivision, even as empty lots, will sell for more than $30 million, and in today’s market, ultimately even more.

The achievement of this bonanza is not easy or simple. First, Grove Farm had to break a long-standing promise to continue Nuhou Street as a four-lane highway down to the harbor area, to relieve some of the heavy traffic on Nawiliwili. Many maps still show that projected street. However, the route of that street would have taken it through the fabulous Golf Estates Subdivision, an unacceptable situation. So, first, Grove Farm pleaded at one of the protest meetings that they could not afford to complete this street. The notion of an impoverished Grove Farm is mind boggling. Then in the manner of a stage magician, Grove Farm proposed to turn Nuhou Street through the children’s park at the north end of Ulu Ko, and to make a connection with Aheahe street at Nawiliwili with a four-way stoplight. Instead of relieving some of the traffic on Nawiliwili, more traffic would be dumped on it. Just like the magician who keeps your attention on his right hand so that you won’t notice what the left hand is doing, so the public could have its uproar about this new street and not pay attention to some of the other horrors that would be inflicted on Ulu Ko subdivision. There would be a connection from the north end of Apapane to the new Nuhou and there would be a new two-lane road from the posh subdivision to Nokekula street.

To achieve this, there had to be some rezoning. With the help of a complicit Planning Commission, they achieved a rezoning of dubious legality that could be vitiated by even a new graduate of the law school taking on her first case. At one of the protest meetings, the Planning Commission representative said that all this “done deal” could be overturned at the time there are new hearings on the next rezoning request by Grove Farm. After all the construction has commenced? Believe it?

Grove Farm is willing to turn a quiet residential street; i.e. Apapane, into a thoroughfare no longer safe for bicycling or children’s play. When the Cadillac Escalades and Rolls Royces come out of their sheltered enclave to mingle with the hoi polloi, they can turn left on Apapane to go to Costco or Home Depot or they can turn right on Apapane to go down to the harbor area. Also, anyone going from the north to the harbor area will use Apapane as a convenient short cut thanks to the connection from the new Nuhou to Apapane. The traffic levels will exceed Nawiliwili. The 2400 block of Apapane will be especially hard hit.

For the several years that the construction of mansions in Golf Estates subdivision will be going on, the parade of cement trucks, truckloads of building materials, and a variety of trucks will be a steady parade down Nokekula and Apapane.

Somebody said recently, in speaking of Grove Farm, “These are the good guys.” Wow! What are the bad guys like? Or are “good” and “rich” synonymous?

Now, at 80, I am too old, and as a pensioner I am too poor, to fight Grove Farm. Since Grove Farm depredations will not affect me directly, I shall leave it to those who are going to be severely damaged. In fairness I must admit that I have been provided by Grove Farm representatives with an extensive and impressive history of doing good in and around Lihu’e. I found it enlightening but not persuasive with respect to Golf Estates and Ulu Ko.

So, I may conclude with some appropriate quotations. The Bible says that, “The Love of Money is the Root of all Evil.” And then there is the statement by Edmund Burke to the effect that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I like to think that I am one of those “good men” but there is a limit to what one can do.

  • Theodore H. Drews is a Lihu’e resident

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