Banyan Drive redevelopment agency board members selected

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The Banyan Drive Hawai‘i Redevelopment Agency now has a board of directors.

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The Banyan Drive Hawai‘i Redevelopment Agency now has a board of directors.

The Hawaii County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the five nominees.

They are: Mary Begier, Realtor; Sig Zane, owner of Sig Zane Designs; Elmer Gorospe, Hawaii division director for International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142; KTA Super Stores CEO Barry Taniguchi; and attorney Brian De Lima.

Mayor Billy Kenoi selected the nominees.

Council members offered praise for the mayor’s selection and creation of the new county agency, tasked with creating a master plan for the future of the hotel area.

“In my estimation, at least, as it relates to the east side of the island, this is probably the most significant measure he is going to have done during his eight years,” said Hilo Councilman Aaron Chung.

Puna Councilman Danny Paleka noted the hotel area, which has seen several properties fall into disrepair, once was a popular destination for visitors.

“That place was happening,” he said. “I want to see that again.”

Paleka said the spirituality of Moku Ola, also known as Coconut Island, and other parts of the peninsula need to be recognized.

Only Zane was present during the confirmation.

“It’s an honor to serve the county and I think that our Banyan Drive area is something we need to address,” he told the council.

The members, who will serve staggered terms of one to five years, appear ready to make quick work of it.

Planning Director Duane Kanuha said the agency might have a master plan ready for the council to consider by the end of summer.

He said the agency will work collaboratively with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which manages almost the entire area on the Waiakea Peninsula.

“The creation of this agency is kind of like a superagency that would actually transcend both of our authorities in that area,” Kanuha said.

He said the agency will be able to provide exemptions on building heights and other regulations.

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The Windward Planning Commission would first review a proposed master plan.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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