5 more parcels could be seized for rail — Several owners are contesting the offers that have been made for their properties

(Via StarAdvertiser)

An additional five properties along Oahu’s future elevated transit line could be on track for full or partial seizures by eminent domain.

The board overseeing the island’s 20-mile, 21-station rail project will consider passing resolutions to start condemnation procedures for the latest properties during its regular meeting Thursday. If it approves the resolutions for all five new properties, that would bring the total number of properties facing potential condemnation by eminent domain for rail to eight, according to project officials.

The move comes as the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation scrambles to get all of the property it needs ahead of time to keep construction on pace, even as costs to complete the project have ballooned by as much as $910 million.

In most of these latest cases, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation would be seeking a partial take of the property.

Four of the five new properties facing possible eminent domain lie along Waiwai Loop, near Keehi Lagoon — and near the future site of the Lagoon Drive rail station.

Several owners along the loop have contested HART’s offers, saying the partial take would make their properties unusable and that it would make it difficult for the existing businesses to continue operating there.

HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas, meanwhile, said the agency is still in “various stages of negotiations” with the five properties. HART needs to proceed with eminent domain, however, so the project can take the property it needs if those talks collapse, he added.

“At least on two of them I know that we’re very close,” Grabauskas said Wednesday of negotiations.

The latest properties facing rail eminent domain are:

» A 222-square-foot electric utility parcel along Kamehameha Highway at the Halawa View Apartments, 99-009 Kalaloa St. HART has offered $7,300. The property owner, Halawa View Housing Partners, accepted the offer but there’s a good chance the deal won’t close in time for construction, according to a written HART summary.

» A 1,581-square-foot parcelat Waiwai Loop Rental, 2621 Waiwai Loop, to make way for a stairwell, overhead station maintenance and a utility easement. An April HART letter showed the agency willing to offer $503,000 for the partial take of the property. (HART records show the agency previously offered $300,000 in November, but rail officials reconsidered after a representative for the property, Scott Ushijima, gave them additional information to review.)

» A 1,641-square-foot parcel at International Express, 2613 Waiwai Loop, to make way for overhead station maintenance and drainage. HART proposed an offer of $165,000. International Express, a trucking and delivery business, says that HART’s take along the front of its property will make operations there impossible. It has instead proposed that HART pay $7.6 million for the full property and to help compensate International Express for its relocation.

» A 1,121-square-foot parcel and a temporary 468-square-foot construction easement at Window World, Inc. at 2620 Waiwai Loop for just over $177,000. Window World disagrees with that value, records show.

» A nearly 200-square-foot parcel for utilities and a more than 1,300-square-foot temporary take for construction at the Ahualoa Aina property, 2629 Waiwai Loop. HART has offered $22,270 for that mostly temporary take. The owner also disagrees with HART’s dollar amount, records show.

If the board passes the resolutions, notice to pursue eminent domain goes to the Honolulu City Council. That body then has up to 45 days to object.

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