State briefs for June 6

Proposed affordable housing project draws opposition

HONOLULU (AP) — Members of an Oahu community have expressed opposition to plans to build a rental apartment complex with primarily low-income units.


The complex in Kailua would include 73 apartments almost entirely intended for residents with low incomes.

Some close neighbors and other community members say the site is inappropriate.

The estimated $37 million project, called Kawainui Street Apartments, is led by Kailua-­based development firm Ahe Group and three nonprofit partners.

An Ahe Group affiliate owns the parcel which currently has seven single-family homes at the edge of a neighborhood bordering Kailua’s commercial core.

The developer filed an application with the city Department of Planning and Permitting seeking an exemption from zoning density and height limits because the project delivers low-income housing.

Affordable rents would be maintained for 61 years with monthly rental rates projected from $521 to $1,412 for 68 affordable units with one or two bedrooms.

Opponents argue the project will have negative impacts on traffic, street parking, views, and the character of the neighborhood zoned for single-family homes.

Electrical fluctuations from virus fast forward Hawaii time

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — The electric company and the coronavirus are responsible for Hawaii residents moving into the future faster than other Americans.

Unprecedented declines in energy use and power generation during the pandemic created a slight electrical frequency disruption.

The deviation has resulted in several reports of electric clocks running a few minutes fast on Maui.

Hawaiian Electric says the reduced electricity use is largely a result of mass closures of hotels and other businesses across the state.

“We saw a significant reduction in use of electricity as tourism activities ceased, businesses closed, and thousands of residents stayed home to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Hawaiian Electric spokeswoman Shayna Decker said.

Decker explained U.S. electric grids operate at a target frequency of 60 hertz. While there are slight variations, the target level is maintained by utility grid operators who balance power generation and energy consumption.

Electric digital clocks, including those on ovens and microwaves, are designed to use the average 60 Hz frequency and even a slight deviation can affect the time on plug-in devices, Decker said.

“Such pronounced changes are something we haven’t experienced before and reflect how quickly and substantially business activity and individual behavior were affected by the pandemic,” Decker said.


The utility also experienced record-low daytime generation on sunny days when private rooftop solar systems supply the most energy, she said.

Most rooftop solar power flows unregulated into the grid, requiring technicians to take action to smooth out solar energy surges and dips.

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