Honolulu council approves correctional center relocation

HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council has approved a plan to relocate the Oahu Community Correctional Center.

The council unanimously approved a permit to move the facility from Kalihi to Halawa, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.

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The project still requires funding from state lawmakers. But it is considered a priority for Democratic Gov. David Ige.

The current location is overcrowded, obsolete and inefficient, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Council members previously stalled action on a permitfor the state Department of Accounting and General Services.

The $525 million project proposal was considered by some to be premature because of concerns raised by Halawa residents and uncertainty over funding from the state Legislature.

Modifications to the resolution appear to have made it more acceptable to council members.

The most recent changes require the state to obtain building permits for any major structures. The project’s traffic plan would be updated whenever a building permit is approved and again six to nine months after the site is occupied.

Area residents have expressed concern over the traffic impacts of a relocated prison when coupled with the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, which is also in the planning stages.

Council Ron Menor, who heads the Council Zoning, Planning and Housing Committee, said planning will help address increased traffic expected during construction and after the jail becomes operational.

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“The traffic mitigation measures could include adding buses and shuttles for visitors and setting aside an area in the facility where the courts can conduct hearings through video-conferencing to reduce inmate transports to the courts,” Menor said.

The governor considers the Kalihi site to be a potential development opportunity because of its location along the route of the city’s upcoming East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana rail line.

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