Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Art exhibition - Where We Live: Places of Hawai'i

Visit the new art exhibition entitled Where We Live: Places of Hawai'i, on display in the Ewa Gallery of the Hawai'i State Art Museum.

For more information, please see:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Honolulu Rail Update for November 17

Historic Hawai‘i Foundation continues to participate in the Section 106 consultation process for the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor. The process is working towards a Programmatic Agreement (PA) that will become a legally binding commitment for avoiding, minimizing and mitigating adverse effects to historic properties within the 20-mile rail corridor. Adherence to the PA, once it is finalized and executed, becomes a condition of federal funding and approvals for the project.
Photo above by Roger Benezet: The Hawaii Employers Council Building is one of over 33 sites to be adversely affected by Honolulu's Proposed Rail
HHF provided written comments on the draft PA dated November 2, 2009. After reviewing the City’s response to HHF comments, provided on November 13, HHF found the City’s response to be inadequate, leaving the issues unresolved. HHF has asked for further review and clarification from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on the outstanding issues. In her communication to FTA, Executive Director Kiersten Faulkner stated that HHF recognizes that compliance with section 106 is the responsibility of the federal agency. “I hope and expect that these issues will be resolved prior to the PA being finalized,” Faulkner wrote.

The final PA is executed by the FTA, the State Historic Preservation Division and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Invited signatories will include the City’s Department of Transportation Services and the National Park Service. All consulting parties are also invited to concur in the agreement.

“The Programmatic Agreement is still a work in progress,” said Faulkner. “We will continue to review and comment on each iteration until HHF’s concerns are addressed. At that point, we will determine whether or not to be a concurring party to the agreement.”

Faulkner explained that being a concurring party to the PA is not an endorsement of either the process or the rail project as a whole, but would indicate whether or not HHF agreed impacts to historic resources were adequately evaluated and mitigated. HHF intends to continue to have a role in the ongoing protection, preservation, avoidance, minimization and mitigation for historic sites affected by the project, and to ensure that the stipulations of the agreement will be implemented in a way that appropriately identifies, protects and mitigates harm to historic resources.

“HHF has been clear throughout the consultation process about our expectations for what the PA needs to address,” Faulkner said. “If those expectations are met, we will concur with the agreement; if not, we won’t. In either case, we will continue to work to ensure that the project incorporates a sensitivity to preservation issues and limits impacts on historic sites and properties.”

Read more about the historic sites affected by the rail...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


(Honolulu, HI) Historic Hawai‘i Foundation’s annual list of the most endangered historic sites in Hawai‘i is dominated by irreplaceable sites and settings that help define Hawai‘i.

“This year’s list includes buildings, archeological sites, cultural landscapes, and sacred places,” said Kiersten Faulkner, executive director. “Each is unique to Hawai‘i and each helps perpetuate our unique heritage.”

“We included fewer individual structures in favor of places in which the collective experience is threatened. While the loss of any one of these buildings or sites would be a tragedy, the loss of the Hawai‘i experience that they provide would be even more tragic,” Faulkner said.

Photo by Kirk Lee Aeder, Courtesy of Honolulu Magazine
Photo above: Lapakahi, located in North Kohala, contains two dozen archeological features from a fishing village circa 1300 AD.

Those endangered places include a 17-acre cultural compound in North Kohala; four of the last plantation-era homes on Hale‘iwa’s main thoroughfare; 12 buildings on the campus of the Waimano Training Ridge and Hospital; and the entire 20-mile corridor proposed for Honolulu’s rapid transit system. The transit corridor – perhaps the most controversial addition to the list – is included because the aesthetics of the system may fundamentally alter the context of some of the historic sites and distinctive communities along the route.

“The common denominator is that each of the places is significant for its contribution to the identity of its community, and how these places reflect the ethnic, cultural and historic diversity we treasure in Hawai‘i,” Faulkner said. “The loss of these places would change our understanding of the cultural landscapes, and rob our future.”

The list of endangered historic sites is an annual program of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation, in cooperation with Honolulu magazine and the State Historic Preservation Division. The list is intended to draw attention to threats to historic places that occur from a variety of sources, including neglect, natural disaster, deliberate demolition and incompatible new development, and to encourage community action to reverse the threats.

The 2009 Most Endangered Historic Sites list includes locations on Hawai‘i, Maui, Lāna‘i and Kaua‘i, and four locations on O‘ahu.

The annual list is compiled by Historic Hawai‘i Foundation, which sought nominations from across the state. While inclusion on the list does not automatically protect or preserve the historic places, it is hoped that the list will raise public awareness, and inspire the community to take action. The 2009 list of endangered sites and a discussion on what threatens each site is featured in the November issue of Honolulu magazine. Honolulu has partnered with HHF on the annual Most Endangered Historic Sites list since its inception in 2005.

The complete list of 2009 Most Endangered Historic Sites is:

Alekoko Pond (Nāwiliwili, Kaua‘i); also known as Menehune Fishpond, the 580-year-old fishpond next to Huleia National Wildlife Refuge is threatened by invasive mangrove trees, falling stone walls, and sedimentation. It needs repair of the walls, removal of the mangrove, and ongoing maintenance.

• The 33 Historic Structures in the Path of Honolulu’s Rapid Transit Project (Kapolei to Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu); the proposed 20 mile elevated train will affect three historic districts, a national historic landmark and 31 other historic properties along the route, primarily in feeling, association and setting. Compatible design in historic areas, education and incentive programs for preservation, and monitoring of indirect effects will all help mitigate the impact.

Hāli‘imaile Stables (Hāli‘imaile, Maui); a demolition permit is pending for the 1920’s era stables built to house horses and mules for the plantation village. Adaptive reuse of the structures would save them for the next generation.

Luahiwa Petroglyphs (Kealiakapu ahupua‘a, Lāna‘i); a fire in 2007 exposed almost 1000 petroglyphs to elements and vandalism. Stabilization and visitor interpretation could help protect them.

Chapel at Kapiolani Community College (Honolulu, O‘ahu); the chapel from the original Ft. Ruger dates to 1925 and is now used for continuing education classes at KCC. It is structurally sound, but needs repairs and repainting.
Photo left: The chapel at Kapiolani Community College, Honolulu, is structurally sound, but needs repairs and repainting.  Rae Huo Photo, Courtesy of Honolulu Magazine

Hale‘iwa Residences (Hale‘iwa, O‘ahu); four of the few remaining plantation-era houses are slated for demolition under a request for rezoning along Hale‘iwa’s main thoroughfare. Adaptive reuse and maintenance would save these authentic structures.

Waimano Ridge (Pearl City, O‘ahu); 12 buildings (1936-1954) at the Waimano Training School and Hospital are slated for demolition under a state plan.

Lapakahi (North Kohala, Hawai‘i); a 17-acre cultural complex adjacent to Lapakahi State Historical Park contains two dozen archeological features from a fishing village circa 1300 AD. The Trust for Public Land is raising funds to purchase the property and add it to the State Park.

“Hawai‘i is fortunate to have a legacy of historic places that provide all of us with a physical connection to the people and events that shaped this state,” said Faulkner. “Perpetuating the historic places of the islands provides a strong sense of identity for all people of Hawai‘i, as well as visitors who come to experience this unique destination.”

Historic Hawai‘i Foundation is a membership-based statewide nonprofit organization that encourages the preservation of historic sites across the state. For more information, or to become a member, see

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

HHF Advocates for Minimizing and Mitigating the Rail’s Adverse Effects on Historic Properties

In what the City hopes will be the final negotiations on the Federal and State reviews for the rail’s impacts on historic properties, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation (HHF) continues to support and recommend solutions to mitigate and minimize the adverse effects on the historic properties by the proposed route.

Photo above: Honolulu's Historic Chinatown District is one of over 30 historic
places to be adversely affected by the future rail project.

“HHF has not taken a position on the transit system as a whole, or on other issues such as alignment, technology or cost,” Faulkner said. “Our response is focused on the potential impacts to historic sites and ways that those can be avoided and minimized, and where avoidance is impractical, how best to mitigate that effect.”

Historic Hawaii Foundation (HHF) is a consulting party to the Section 106 process for the Honolulu High Capacity Rapid Transit project, also known as the proposed rail system.

As a consulting party, HHF was invited to provide input into the negotiations on an agreement to avoid, minimize and mitigate effects on historic properties, which will be memorialized as a Programmatic Agreement (PA) between the official Signatories of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services (DTS). These Signatories must execute the final agreement in order for federal funding to be released to the project.

Other consulting parties included the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, the American Institute of Architects Honolulu Chapter, the O‘ahu Island Burial Council, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hui Mālama I Na Kupuna O Hawai‘i Nei, several Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and a variety of other entities. Each party approached the consultation from its own perspective and in response to its own guiding principles and mission.

HHF has responded to the historic property impacts at each stage of the review process, including recommendations for avoiding, minimizing and mitigating impacts to historic resources.

ISSUE 1: Determination of Effects

In September 2008, HHF reviewed the Historic Resources Technical Report for the project. At that time, the project team acknowledged only six adverse effects to historic resources along the entire 20 mile corridor. HHF’s response was that the determination of effects needed to include direct, indirect, cumulative and reasonably foreseeable impacts on the corridor, the station areas, important view planes, and traditional cultural properties.

As an outcome of the process, the current proposed PA includes a determination of adverse effect on 31 historic properties within the corridor and provides for additional investigation to be conducted into traditional cultural properties and Native Hawaiian burials. A verbal agreement that is expected to be included in the next draft document will also provide for monitoring and evaluation of demolition of historic properties within station areas.

ISSUE 2: Avoidance of Historic Properties

“It is important to have advance investigation into all known historic and cultural resources that will be affected by the system, and to select the alternative that does the least harm while still allowing the project need to be met,” Faulkner said.

The project proposes to utilize existing right of way to minimize property acquisition for the project. The selection of the alignment, station areas, parking areas and other built components also limits both direct and indirect impacts on historic structures. However, the elevated technology will create visual impacts along the entire corridor, resulting in adverse effects on many historic properties. The chosen alignment along the waterfront is also in a high sensitivity area with known Native Hawaiian burials, which will likely be discovered and disturbed during construction.

The proposed PA includes a stipulation for the City to conduct archeology and cultural investigations for the later construction phases (which contain the areas of highest likelihood of additional discoveries) with local adjustments to piers and footings, or treatment plans for iwi kupuna, to be developed at a later date. O‘ahu Island Burial Council (OIBC) has opposed this approach, instead recommending that the evaluation be done first, and then the alignment selected.

“HHF believes that the project has mostly avoided historic buildings, but defers to the judgment of the OIBC in its evaluation of how the project will affect iwi kupuna and traditional cultural places,” Faulkner said.

ISSUE 3: Minimizing and Mitigating Adverse Effects

When the City released its Historic Resources Technical Report in September 2008 and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in October 2008, it proposed mitigation for adverse effects only in the form of additional studies and documentation. HHF’s comments on the Technical Report and the DEIS included nine major areas for mitigation. During the consultation process, refinements and additions were made to the initial proposals.

“Looking at mitigation only on a site-by-site basis would not address the entire scope of the effects to historic properties, so throughout the review process, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation has proposed and supported mitigation for indirect, cumulative and reasonably foreseeable effects,” said Faulkner.

Substantial progress has been made since August 2009. Some of the City’s commitments to mitigation have been included in the current draft PA, while others have been made verbally and are expected to be reflected in the next draft of the written agreement.

Which HHF Proposals will be Included in the Programmatic Agreement (PA)?

1. HHF Proposed: Documentation of all adversely affected historic resources

The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • Historic Building Survey, Engineering Record and Landscape Survey (HABS/HAER/HALS) recordation will be conducted for certain resources as determined with National Park Service;
  • Archival photography of all other resources;
  • Photo documentation of select resources and viewsheds;
  • Comprehensive video documentation of project corridor.

2. HHF Proposed: Conduct cultural landscape reports

 The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • Historic Context Studies for relevant themes;
  • Cultural Landscape Reports for historic properties;
  • Traditional Cultural Properties study and treatment measures;
  • Archeological Inventory Survey and consultation with OIBC, Lineal and Cultural Descendents for treatment plans, monitoring, mitigation, data recovery and curation of iwi kupuna.

 3. HHF Proposed: Provide historic and architectural interpretation of resources

The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • Interpretive plan and signage installation at stations and in vehicles;
  • Historic brochure about the history of the area along the line (1000 copies);
  • Materials for children (digital format);
  • Humanities program to explore human histories, cultures and values ($100,000);
  • Educational program to encourage the rehabilitation of historic properties along the route (2 meetings, printed and electronic information).
  • Educational field guide of historic properties and districts along the transit route (print and electronic format).

4. HHF Proposed: Provide public access to documentation through a geo-coded electronic database to serve as an inventory of resources and research platform.

The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • Searchable database of historic properties in the transit corridor (excluding culturally sensitive data), publicly accessible, with interactive geographic component; links to documentations;
  • Develop strategy to make database available to any organization with capacity to maintain and support the database post-construction.

5. HHF Proposed: Write or update National Register Nominations for all 76 eligible historic parcels and districts; submit the nominations for formal designation.

 The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):

  • Complete or update nominations for up to 31 adversely affected historic properties, and submit nominations unless property owners object;
  • Complete a Multiple Property Submission related to Modernism and the Recent Past Architecture in Honolulu/Oahu;
  • Update the Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark documentation (subject to Navy cooperation).

 6. HHF Proposed: Establish a City & County of Honolulu Preservation Program and seek designation as a Certified Local Government.
The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • City shall include a staff position for Architectural Historian for the transit project during the duration of the PA;
  • City shall establish a Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project Historic Preservation Committee to develop a $2,000,000 funding program for historic preservation within the corridor.
  • The City shall monitor the loss of historic or eligible resources with the corridor. Additional refinement and response to any patterns of demolition are being discussed and should be included in the final PA.
7. HHF Proposed: Establish a Main Street Program to achieve economic development through historic preservation.

The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • No stipulations from this proposal is included in the agreement.
 8. HHF Proposed: Protection and restoration of affected historic properties

     The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):

  • Development and implementation of historic parks improvement plans for all adversely effected historic parks (Irwin, Walker and Mother Waldron), up to $750,000 for improvements;
  • Protect and reinstall lava rock curbs;
  • Repair or replace in-kind historic bridge rails on Kapalama Canal bridge;
  • Replace true Kamani trees on Dillingham Blvd.

Photo above: Walker Park would benefit from
 the proposed parks improvement plan, which is to be
created and funded by the rail project as
 part of the mitigation for adversely
affecting historic sites.

9. HHF Proposed: Provide compatible design and context sensitive solutions for each station area and the guideway infrastructure.

    The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • Consistency with Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation where historic properties are present.
  • Neighborhood design workshops (2) for each grouping of stations.
  • Design review of all built components by SHPD and concurring parties at Preliminary and Final design phases.
  • Additional measures to compatibility with historic resources and mitigation of effects are being discussed.
10. HHF Proposed: Other Measures

The PA Includes (as of 10/30/09):
  • All work carried out under the terms of the PA shall be conducted by qualified preservation professionals;
  • Construction protection plan to include noise and vibration monitoring, protection and mitigation. If any eligible historic property is damaged, it will be repaired following SOI standards;
  • A master schedule of implementation of the stipulations, deadlines and benchmarks, kick-off, scoping and review timeframes is to be developed;
  • Information about the progress of implementation of the PA shall be posted on the website and available to the public;
  • An annual meeting of signatories and concurring parties will review implementation progress;
  • Dispute resolution and administrative procedures are included;
  • Duration of PA: through end of construction.
  • Continued discussion on the current mitigation measures that limit involvement to “concurring” parties; this should be changed to “consulting” parties.

“Although Historic Hawai‘i Foundation supports improved transportation options for Honolulu, we remain concerned that the proposed system will fundamentally change the cultural landscape of O‘ahu and could forever diminish the civic experience in Honolulu’s historic areas,” said Faulkner. “We continue to remain engaged in the consultation process in order to ensure that appropriate and proportionate measures are taken to mitigate that effect.”

“HHF will also continue to be involved in the implementation of the agreement to ensure that the measures are followed, and all possible steps are taken to protect the essential character of the historic communities along the transit route,” Faulkner added.

For questions about Historic Hawaii Foundation's work with the Honolulu Rapid Transit Project, please contact Kiersten Faulkner at (808)523-2900.

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