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Away from Waikiki

Two developments should make it easier to stay outside Waikiki on an Hawaii vacation, but not real soon.

One is a new hotel in Laie, near the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). Plans for the hotel have moved a step forward with city council approval of a special use permit. The new hotel replaces the old Laie Inn, which was built in 1964 and torn down two years ago. It will be much larger than the old inn, which had only 48 rooms. The new Courtyard by Marriott will have 220-rooms (according to the current plans) along with a restaurant, pool and retail space. Since the new hotel is so much larger than the old one, plans call for the adjacent McDonalds and gas station to be relocated.

Opponents do not want such a large hotel in such a small town, and fear an increase in traffic on the two-lane highway that runs along the Oahu shore in that area. Developers say the hotel will not only accommodate visitors to the PCC, but also friends and relatives of residents and students at nearby Brigham Young University-Hawaii. The new hotel, the PCC and BYU-H are all owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Plans for additional hotel rooms at Turtle Bay Resort have recently been modified in response to community protests. Originally, a redevelopment plan called for five new hotels with 3,500 rooms and condos. Recently, owners reduced the number of units to 2,235 which is still more than many who live in the area would like to see. New owners of the resort met with development opponents in March to try to move the project forward. It is likely that some sort of expansion will eventually be approved for the resort area but plans may be further reduced.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Sep 17, 2011