A unique development in Kapolei

Rendering courtesy of D.R. Horton

At a press conference today, Cameron Nekota of D.R. Horton announced that the company will file an amended petition tomorrow with the State Land Use Commission to approve Hoopili, a new housing development. D. R. Horton says it hopes to offer healthy lifestyles, use fewer natural resources and feature an urban agriculture program, saying it is the first community development of its kind in Hawaii.

The homes won’t be available until 2013, but as it is built, the developer hopes to create $4.6 billion in economic activity over a period of 20 years. The project will comprise 11,750 homes on 1,554 acres between Kapolei, Ewa and Waipahu, with another three million square feet of commercial space.

"West Oahu has emerged as a vibrant community, especially with new, world-class neighbors like UH West Oahu, Salvation Army Kroc Center and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ planned shopping center," says Nekota.

The plan is for Hoopili to reduce auto dependence by creating a compact community featuring a mix of land uses in a "village" setting. Designed to be a highly "walkable" community, shops, restaurants, five new school sites and 20 neighborhood parks in Hoopili should be accessible within a short walk from residences.

"Hoopili is the first community development in Hawaii to prepare a Health Impact Assessment and to measure key health indicators embedded in the design," says Jim Charlier, president of Charlier Associates, Inc. and a sustainability expert. "The result is a community that is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle, as well as promote greater community cohesion where people get to know their neighbors and enjoy a sense of belonging."

The community will also provide the opportunity to farm more than 15 percent of the developable acreage, which is approximately 159 acres of low-slope land for organic commercial farm use, approximately eight acres of land for use as community gardens, and possibly additional 84 acres for home gardens. Home gardens, or "steward" gardens are one of the most unique features of Hoopili’s urban agriculture program.

The program "incorporates food production right within the community," says Dean Okimoto, owner of Nalo Farms. "In many ways, Hoopili captures the best parts of old Hawai’i where families grew their own fruits and vegetables, either to eat themselves or to share."

All single-family homes in Hoopili will be constructed with roofs that are photovoltaic (PV)-ready; 10 percent of the homes will already be fitted with rooftop PV systems. All homes will be electric car-ready; inside, they will include Energy Star appliances, energy-efficient lighting and water-saving fixtures.

Hoopili will also feature a solar farm, designed and built by solar company Hoku, that is located adjacent to the property. It will provide 5 MW of clean renewable energy, translating to eight million kilowatt-hours of solar power annually.