Working Together to Improve Waikiki
April 16, 2009
Mayor Mufi Hannemann in Sun Special Contributor

I was pleased to recently approve Bill 70 (2008), an important signage regulation measure supported by Waikiki businesses, the Outdoor Circle, and many others.

This measure is important to our economy and the health of Waikiki businesses because it will provide greater flexibility in the placement and design of signs that guide visitors and other customers. The measure will also assure the preservation and improvement of Waikiki's aesthetic qualities.

For example, the measure will provide greater opportunity to second-floor businesses, which have been very restricted in the ways they identify themselves and their goods and services.

Bill 70 amends the Land Use Ordinance by:

• clarifying provisions for the Sign Master Plan (zoning adjustment) option;

• amending certain definitions and general sign standards ("building frontage," "directional signs," and "wall signs"), and adding a definition and general sign standards for "small signs"; and

• increasing the ratio for business sign areas in the Waikiki Special District, as well as the maximum size of building identification signs in the district.

These amendments were prepared and initiated by the Waikiki Improvement Association, and were supported by the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, The Outdoor Circle, sign makers and designers, and numerous Waikiki area businesses.

I'm grateful for all the hard work of City Council Zoning Committee Chairman Rod Tam and the other council members; Planning Commission Chairwoman Karin Holma and the commissioners; Waikiki Neighborhood Board Chairman Bob Finley; Waikiki Improvement Association Chairman Eric Masutomi; and WIA President Rick Egged.

When I approved the measure, Egged noted that it would help all Waikiki businesses by giving them greater flexibility in identifying their locations for potential customers, while maintaining a clean, Hawaiian sense of place.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously in support of this proposal on December 10, 2008. The City Council unanimously approved Bill 70 on March 18, 2009.

In other news, I recently congratulated 79 senior honorees at the 43rd Annual Mayor's Senior Recognition Program, held at the Hawaii Convention Center before a capacity audience of family, friends and well-wishers.

Honolulu is truly blessed to have so many senior volunteers who serve unselfishly to help those in need. We deeply appreciate all the ways they help from their hearts.

Named 2009 Outstanding Male and Female Volunteers were Charles Clark, nominated by the State Executive on Aging Senior Medicare Patrol and Michiko Motooka, nominated by Project Dana and Moiliili Hongwanji Mission.

Also recognized were four Akamai Living Award winners: Lawrence Morisako, Victorio Macatumbas, Serafina Gangemi Smith and Antonio Garcia. These seniors represent the many who generously help others cope with life's difficulties or assist organizations that deliver health care, recreational or social services.

This year's theme, "Healthy Living by Sharing Aloha," recognized that volunteering benefits one's health and well being, while providing valuable service to the community.

Stacy Loe and Keahi Tucker of KGMB 9 were the event's masters of ceremony. The program featured entertainment by Karen Keawehawaii, the Royal Hawaiian Band, and the Na Kupuna O' Makua Alii seniors.

The 43rd Mayor's Senior Recognition Program was produced by the Honolulu Committee on Aging and the Elderly Affairs Division, City and County of Honolulu. The Hawaii Medical Service Association and First Hawaiian Bank were principal sponsors of this program.

Mahalo to everyone who participated in "Honolulu City Lights Out" on March 28. This annual event - the local version of the World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour - urges participants to switch off their lights and nonessential electrical devices for one hour.

More than 2,700 cities in 83 countries participated this year, and interest is steadily growing in raising public awareness about the importance of energy conservation and its relation to climate protection. This is very compatible with the goals of our own 21st Century Ahupua'a program that is designed to encourage sustainable practices throughout Oahu.

Article originally appeared on East Oahu Sun | Your Community Newspaper (http://www.eastoahusun.com/).
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