Of late, residents in Kailua have bemoaned the state of public facilities to cope with an increasing tourist population. Public facilities created haphazardly over the last century can easily be overwhelmed with the increased traffic stemming from the ease of information about those facilities. "If you build it, they will come" gives way to "if you put it on yelp, brace for impact".
The City and County of Honolulu plainly have the power to build roads, improve facilities, repair bathrooms, and manage traffic, but if it does not do so, we wondered if property owners and business owners have the ability to act.
Turns out, they do.
Under the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, residents can petition the City for the creation of a Community Facility District. A slightly different entity called a Special Improvement District can be created to for improvement of community infrastructure to improve the business environment.
Under Chapter 34, a Community Facility District can be created at the request of the Mayor, the action of the City Council or by petition. It may be established to finance the acquisition, planning, design, construction, installation, improvement, or rehabilitation of any real property or structure. Such improvements can be streets, roads, bikeways, public parking facilities, park or recreation facilities, cultural facilities, undergrounding utilities, etc. A nonprofit corporation is established, bond financing is available and the District has the power to assess properties in the district to pay for such improvements.
Under Chapter 36, a Special Improvement District can be created to provide financing and administration for improvements like, services to enhance the security of persons and property within the district, landscaping services, enhanced sanitation services; services promoting and advertising activities within the district; Marketing education for businesses within the district; and decorations and lighting for seasonal and holiday purposes.
These districts are valid creations of the municipal government. See Von Damm v. Conkling, 23 Haw. 487 (1916)(City and County of Honolulu's improvement districts do not violate 5th Amendment).
We aren't sure whether it was Thomas Jefferson or Lyndon Johnson, but government is best which is closest to the people. While Honolulu Hale is not that far from Kailua, these districts provide a way for a community to improve the public facilities in their own neighborhood.