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Hawaii: Redevelopment of Ford Island and Management of the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex/ Navy Region Hawaii

Agency: U.S. Navy

Criteria for ACHP Involvement:

  • The Navy’s management and redevelopment activities in Hawaii have the potential to adversely affect a large number of historic properties, including the U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark (Criterion 1).

  • Proposed development of a Programmatic Agreement will alter the way the Section 106 process is applied to management activities at the Naval Region Hawaii (Criterion 2).

  • There is substantial public controversy regarding the Navy’s proposed redevelopment of Ford Island at Pearl Harbor (Criterion 3).

Recent Developments

ACHP has notified the Secretary of the Navy that it intends to participate in consultation to develop Programmatic Agreements (PAs) for both the Ford Island redevelopment Master Development Agreement as well as for the construction of approximately 180 housing units on the island at Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark (NHL). The Navy held a meeting in mid-June to discuss the first draft of the Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan (ICRMP) for Pearl Harbor and the proposed Ford Island agreements.

Since that meeting, the consulting parties have provided comments on the Draft ICRMP, the language and schematic designs to be included in the RFP for the housing development, and the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the broader Ford Island development.

Ford Island, Hawaii



Ford Island, Hawaii (staff photo)




In June, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (Trust) named Ford Island to its 2001 list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The Trust has also assembled a team of experts, including ACHP members Bruce Judd and Ray Soon, who will present in the fall a workshop on historic preservation opportunities in relating to the Master Development Agreement.

The Navy has signed a PA for management of all properties (except Ford Island) within Navy Region Hawaii, and final execution of the document is being considered by the consulting parties. The PA has been under negotiation between ACHP, the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the National Park Service (NPS), the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Trust, and the Historic Hawaii Foundation.


The Pearl Harbor Naval Complex is the Navy’s largest and most strategic base in the Pacific. Encompassing more than 12,600 acres of land and water, it serves as the headquarters of five major fleet commands. More than 1,200 of the buildings and structures constructed during the base’s 100-year history are included in the U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor NHL, which was designated in 1964. The NHL designation commemorates the 1941 Japanese attack on the base that propelled the United States into World War II, as well as the strategic role the base has played through time in the Pacific.

In addition, the base contains important Native Hawaiian archeological sites, including traditional stone-walled fishponds. (For more information on historic properties at Pearl Harbor, visit historic or present Pearl Harbor at the Navy Region Hawaii Web site.)

In 1979, the Navy, Hawaii SHPO, and ACHP entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the management of the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex. The agreement is more than 20 years old and, measured against today’s standards, including 1997 Navy guidance on planning for historic properties, needs to be updated and improved. Although the MOA called for periodic reviews, none were initiated, and properties were not re-evaluated to determine if their management by the Navy was still appropriate.

Moreover, the MOA provided no opportunity for public involvement, included no provisions regarding archeology, and contained vague treatment standards. Of particular concern, the MOA virtually excluded ACHP from any review role, contrary to the 1992 amendment of Section 110(f) of the National Historic Preservation Act, which calls for ACHP participation in review of activities affecting NHLs.

Problems with the 1979 MOA were highlighted by the Navy’s 1998 plans for the redevelopment of Ford Island. Ford Island is located in the harbor and contains buildings and structures associated with its historic use as officer housing and a naval air station. The Japanese attack focused on the Pacific Fleet ships moored around the island and on the hangars and airfield on the island itself. Traditionally, the island was accessible only by ferry, but in 1998 a bridge was constructed between the island and the mainland. That access will facilitate a proposed $500 million master plan that, as originally proposed, would include 600 homes for Navy personnel, a Navy museum, and other development.

Because of the Navy’s Ford Island redevelopment plans, NPS recently named Naval Base Pearl Harbor to its list of threatened NHLs. In April 2001, the Navy issued a Request for Proposals for a Master Development Agreement for the Ford Island redevelopment. (Visit the Ford Island Development Web site for more information on Ford Island redevelopment.)

At a February 1999 ACHP meeting in Hawaii, ACHP members gained first-hand understanding of the complexities of the Navy’s Ford Island plans, as well as the Navy’s challenges in managing numerous obsolete and deteriorated facilities within the Naval Complex. Concern voiced by ACHP members has resulted in the Navy’s willingness to revisit the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex MOA and expand its scope.

The proposed new PA will apply to the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex (including the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility) and to outlying naval installations on Oahu and the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on Kauai, but will exclude redevelopment of Ford Island.

In connection with the development of the PA, the Navy is preparing an ICRMP that will be implemented by the PA upon its acceptance by the consulting parties.

Staff contact: Lee Keatinge

Updated June 6, 2002

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