HONOLULU – The State of Hawaii has published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) project. The DEIS has been posted online and public comments are encouraged.
The public has until Feb. 8, 2021 to provide comments about the DEIS, which is available at: http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/the_environmental_notice/2020-12-23-ten.pdf.
Comments can be provided by email (NASED.EIS@wilsonokamoto.com) or sent by standard mail to: ‘NASED Comments’ at 1907 South Beretania St. #400, Honolulu, HI 96826.
“We appreciate all of the hard work, collaboration and support the NASED project has received, especially given the pandemic challenges of the past year,” said Chris Kinimaka, Public Works Administrator for the State of Hawaii Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS). “We are overjoyed to announce this significant milestone and look forward to moving the project forward expeditiously in the coming year.”
The NASED team will host identical virtual community meetings on Jan. 26 and 28 from 7-9 p.m. to discuss the EIS process and answer questions. Members of the public can register for the meetings by clicking on the following links:
- Community Meeting on Jan. 26: https://bit.ly/2KpGjmx
- Community Meeting on Jan. 28: https://bit.ly/2Kpyzks
“We encourage full public and stakeholder engagement in the Draft EIS process,” Kinimaka said. “From the beginning, we have put a premium on community outreach and that commitment will continue.”
For additional information about NASED, please visit the project website: https://nased.hawaii.gov/
Below are frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the NASED EIS process:
- What are the next steps in the DEIS process and the anticipated timeline? There is a 45-day period for collecting comments from the public and other interested parties who would like to participate in the review and consideration of the DEIS. All questions and comments made during this period will be addressed. After the comment period, any adjustments to the DEIS will be wrapped into the formulation of the final EIS (FEIS).
- Which government agencies need to approve the DEIS? The approving agency is the Office of the Governor.
- Did the COVID-19 pandemic have an impact on the DEIS process? If so, how? The pandemic did initially limit our ability to communicate with various stakeholders and advisors. However, like everyone, the team quickly adapted and completed all required communications and consultation to inform the DEIS.
- What is a ‘programmatic’ EIS and what does this mean for future development and environmental studies for the site? A “programmatic” EIS is a variation of a standard EIS, whereby, the programmatic EIS seeks to evaluate the effects of proposed actions that typically include a series of projects (or a ‘program’) to be carried out for a common purpose – e.g., NASED. When additional project-level details are determined or changed, additional project-level environmental review documentation, which may take the form of a Supplemental EIS or Environmental Assessments, may be required if it is determined that significant changes have been made to the project-level designs such that the contemplated project-level actions are no longer substantially similar to those evaluated in this programmatic EIS. Such project-level environmental review documents, if required, will analyze a narrower project-level proposal as related to the broad (programmatic) proposal identified within this EIS.
- What studies informed the DEIS? A comprehensive set of studies has been undertaken which inform the DEIS, covering matters such as: archaeological, cultural, flora and fauna, geotechnical, noise, engineering, hazardous materials, traffic, and economic considerations.
- If the appropriate government agencies or public comments identify areas that are lacking in the DEIS, will additional studies be needed? Given the breadth and depth of studies undertaken, and the programmatic nature of the DEIS, additional studies are unlikely to be required. However, if the public comment period does identify a requirement for more information to finalize the EIS, then this will be acted upon immediately.
- Did the results of the DEIS identify any major environmental concerns, such as hazardous contaminants that pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of the people who currently use/visit Aloha Stadium or to nearby residents and businesses? No.
- Did the results of the DEIS identify any major concerns that could impact the project vision, scale, budget, financial feasibility or timeline? The DEIS does not identify any significant issues or concerns that would prevent the project from being delivered as envisioned. The DEIS is a document of ‘discovery’ and disclosure that primarily identifies environmental matters impacting the project site and develops strategies and mitigations for remedying those matters. It is not a financial feasibility or project budgeting study. While this discovery process did identify several issues or concerns for the project site, these are all expected to be addressable and managed through good project planning, administration and governance.
- When the EIS was conducted, were nearby projects such as the Honolulu rail factored into the overall assessment? The DEIS does, within its scope, consider neighboring developments such as the Honolulu Rail Transit Project and the Halawa station, which upon delivery will positively influence the NASED project.
- In addition to the NASED project, there are two other major projects in the planning stages in that area, including the proposed new jail in Halawa and the potential redevelopment of Navy-owned land. Are issues such as traffic, noise, the environment, congestion, infrastructure, utilities, etc. being taken into account? All known and discoverable environmental influences affecting the NASED project are factored into the production of the DEIS.
- Were cultural descendants for the Halawa ahupua‘a consulted for the cultural impact assessment, as well as to help identify historical/archaeological resources and burial sites? Summaries of interviews with lineal and cultural descendants with ties to the project area are included in the DEIS, and information on other past oral testimonies are also provided. Data was extrapolated from these sources that provide an unprecedented comprehensive look at the previous cultural resources on this ʻāina.
- Did the DEIS identify any historical or culturally significant resources that were not previously identified, and how will that impact the project going forward? The DEIS took into account all known and discoverable material. A separate and specific archaeological inventory survey (AIS) is currently underway for the entire site, although an AIS is not a requirement of an EIS.
- Does the DEIS address the potential impact to nearby military operations, including any national security concerns with having such a large-scale project with sightlines into the nearby base and military assets? The NASED project team is in consultation with the Navy regarding such concerns and the effect the NASED may have on operations, including security of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). These discussions are ongoing. The Navy has expressed that it is imperative that NASED does not compromise national security or the physical security of the adjacent JBPHH. Consequently, the developers for NASED will be required to consult with the Navy, as appropriate, to develop a design and implementation of NASED that will not adversely impair the physical security of the JBPHH installation.
- Did the DEIS evaluate different project configurations, sizes and uses to determine what impact alternative project scenarios might have? Yes, three options were initially studied, leading to the identification of one location to study in greater detail. From that one option, a master plan was generated that illustrated one possible configuration for the entire development of the Halawa site. This stadium location was selected, because it appears to have the greatest overall potential impacts to the site and future operations.
- Are there additional federal or state review processes that are required? Not for this EIS.
- Why is an EIS being prepared? State law requires that an EIS be prepared for this project.
- What is the proposed project? In response to ongoing engineering assessments and expert analysis of the deteriorating condition of the existing Aloha Stadium and the considerable cost necessary to maintain the stadium’s structural integrity, the State of Hawaii is working to identify the means by which a new stadium can be constructed and the Halawa site transformed into a vibrant, thriving community entertainment district. The project will include new, mixed-use development that will offer a range of resident and visitor amenities, catalyze economic development and job creation, and celebrate the history and culture of Aloha Stadium and the communities that surround it.
- What geographic area is included in the EIS? The Aloha Stadium site, which comprises approximately 98 acres, includes land north of the H1/Salt Lake Boulevard intersection, west of H1, east of Kamehameha Highway, and south of H201.
- Who is conducting the EIS? The Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) is administering the EIS and has contracted Crawford Architects, which is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and has an office in downtown Honolulu, to prepare the EIS and master planning for this project. Several subcontractors, which are all Hawaii-based companies, are working with Crawford. Wilson Okamoto Corporation (WOC), a Hawaii-based company, is working with Crawford to directly oversee the EIS process.
- How was the company that is conducting the EIS selected? DAGS invited companies with master-planning credentials and experience in this type of work to submit qualifications for the project. A qualifications evaluation and interview process ensued and Crawford was selected. A Notice to Proceed was issued on November 7, 2018.
- What qualifications does the company have for doing this type of work? Crawford has developed many master plans for sports facilities within mixed-use developments. Most recently, Crawford worked with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings on their headquarters and practice facilities and with four NCAA Division 1 universities on their stadiums and related facilities. These universities included: South Dakota State, Montana State, Penn State and Pennsylvania. Crawford also designed some of the nation’s most iconic stadiums, including Camden Yards (Baltimore, Maryland), Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin) and CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington).
- Crawford and its sub-consultant WT Partnership have considerable experience in public-private-partnership (P3) project delivery. P3 is the anticipated plan for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) and the ability to engage with developers during the solicitation period and project delivery phases will require familiarity with this delivery methodology.
- Wilson Okamoto Corporation (WOC), a Hawaii-based company, is working with Crawford to directly oversee the EIS process. WOC has a planning department possessing wide-ranging experience and knowledge spanning local and national statutes, rules, regulations and policies for land use and Environmental Impact Statements.
- What government agencies are involved in the EIS process? Hawaii’s environmental review process is facilitated by the State of Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Quality Control. The approving agency is the Office of the Governor. Other county, state, and federal agencies are engaged as part of the EIS discovery process.
- How will the EIS be used? It will ensure that the public is involved in the government decision-making regarding the disclosure of known activities that might affect our environment.
- What does the EIS process involve? At a minimum, the EIS process involves: identifying environmental concerns, obtaining various relevant data, conducting necessary studies and analysis, receiving public and agency input, evaluating alternatives, and proposing measures for avoiding, minimizing, rectifying or reducing potential adverse impacts.
- Is the EIS considering different project alternatives? A master plan for the site is part of the DEIS. Different options are being considered for the redevelopment of the site. Each option contains a new Aloha Stadium at a slightly different location within the site. One of those locations has been chosen in order to undertake a more in-depth analysis of the environmental issues for the entire site.
- How much will the EIS and master plan cost? The EIS and master plan will cost approximately $5 million.
- Where are the funds for the EIS and master plan coming from? The State Act 49, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017, Item H-18, appropriated funds for this purpose.
- How much will the redevelopment of the stadium site cost and how will it be funded? Concurrent with the EIS, the project is undertaking procurement planning, cost estimating and funding analyses. The state intends to cap funding for the new stadium and site development to limit budget risk and engage private sector investment to develop a financially robust plan for the NASED.
- Will Aloha Stadium operations and/or events be impacted while the EIS is being conducted? In the course of undertaking the EIS, Aloha Stadium has announced that stadium operations will be undergoing changes for the foreseeable future.
• What can residents and businesses in the nearby area expect during the EIS process? All activities within the nearby area will be unaffected.
- Is the EIS taking into account the purported effects of climate change? Changes in the state statute that regulates the preparation of an EIS take into account sea level rise and greenhouse gas emissions. These have been considered in the DEIS for NASED.
- Is the city and/or HART involved in the redevelopment planning as part of its transit-oriented development? The master plan for transit-oriented development surrounding the HART station near the stadium has been taken into account during the development of the DEIS for NASED.
- Has the EIS that was conducted for the Aloha Stadium rail station been taken into consideration as part of this EIS? Yes.
- Will the public have an opportunity to review and provide comments on the EIS process, the findings and any proposed actions? There are mandatory requirements for engaging in public consultation during the preparation of the EIS and periods within the preparation process for public comments to be made, considered and responded to. The first step in the process was the publication of an EIS Preparation Notice (EISPN) and a 30-day comment period that NASED voluntarily extended to 45 days. Comments were reviewed and, in response, there has been consultation with appropriate agencies, citizen groups and concerned individuals. Following the publication of this DEIS, there is another comment and review period that is being voluntarily extended to 45 days prior to the Final EIS being accepted and approved.
- How is the public being kept informed during the EIS process? Public outreach and consultation are important components of the EIS and master plan processes. Therefore, a website https://nased.hawaii.gov/ was created to keep the public informed about the project. In addition, ongoing meetings are being held with community groups and key stakeholders to keep them updated on the project’s status. Cultural experts and neighborhood boards are being consulted and asked to provide their feedback. Likewise, input is being solicited from key stakeholders representing business, entertainment, government, media, military, sports, television, tourism, etc. Through outreach and consultation with these groups, informed decisions are being made during the master planning process that address the community’s needs, as well as those of numerous stakeholders.
• Have public meetings been held? There have been several public meetings throughout the course of the EIS process as part of the requirement for public consultation. Details are available on the project website: https://nased.hawaii.gov/
• Once the EIS is completed, what are the next steps? The state is undertaking procurement processes in parallel to the EIS. This is to select developer(s) to design and construct the NASED, including the new Aloha Stadium. As part of these processes, prospective developers will be requested to submit proposed designs for the new stadium and district. The most suitable developer(s) will be selected, and they will be required to further progress and then deliver their proposed designs.
- How will the NASED project affect the Swap Meet and Marketplace? The Stadium Authority values the Swap Meet and Marketplace and recognizes that it generates a significant portion of the stadium’s overall revenues. We want the Swap Meet to remain central to the future of the new venue and accommodations of vendors’ needs will be integrated into the new facility’s programming. The current plan is to keep the Swap Meet and Marketplace in operation while the new Aloha Stadium is being constructed. The Stadium Authority is maintaining ongoing communications with Swap Meet and Marketplace vendors as the NASED planning progresses. A stadium representative attends vendor meetings to provide updates and answer questions.
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