Turbine Setbacks Case at Intermediate Court
HCP Case Pending in the Supreme Court
Na Pua Makani Turbine Setbacks
KNSC and Kahuku Community Association are challenging illegal approvals by the Department of Planning and Permitting's (DPP) that allowed two turbines to be constructed within the minimum property setback. Our appeal is now before the Intermediate Court of Appeals. (12/29/21)
The Zoning Board of Appeals and Circuit Court both ruled that our appeal was filed too late and refused to consider the illegality of DPP's decision. The setback waiver was done ministerially and never publicly announced. Nobody except the developer and the DPP knew about the decision, so how could a 30 day limit to appeal be valid? We cannot believe the law requires interested parties to know, in advance, that the city is about to do something illegal and to formally request to be informed if they do.
We learned about these decisions in December 2019 and requested a contested case. The City approved construction of 568' tall turbines as close as 275' from a property line, even though the law requires a minimum setback of one foot for every foot of height and the law does not allow exceptions to the minimum requirements.
The basic questions, "Did the City violate the law?" and "What should be done to correct the violation?" are yet to be answered.
The massive turbines should never have been built so close to Kahuku.
The Hawaii Supreme Court held oral arguments on our challenge of Na Pua Makani's Habitat Conservation Plan on April 1, 2021. They have not yet ruled, as of 12/29/21.
General details of the case are stated below. Legal Docs are here.
We welcome donations to help pay our outstanding legal team for taking this case
to the Supreme Court, and for challenging the illegal setbacks of the massive turbines.
Na Pua Makani constructed eight massive wind turbines that surround Kahuku and tower over the schools and residences. The tip of each blade reaches 568' into the sky. By comparison, the earlier wind turbines in Kahuku are 420' tall. We are concerned about the likely adverse impact on the endangered opeapea, Hawaiian hoary bat and the well being of the community.
Keep the North Shore Country has objected to this HCP because critical information was not properly considered in its preparation. Key elements such as the change in turbine height from 427' to 656' (now 568'), relevant data from the Kawailoa Wind project, and certain operational restrictions were overlooked.
The HCP is needed because the wind turbines are expected to kill endangered species like the opeapea (Hawaiian hoary bat). The developer must apply for an Incidental Take License and this is done by developing a viable Habitat Conservation Plan that will provide a net benefit to endangered species.
After a thorough investigation of the facts in a contested case, the Hearing Officer agreed with us that NPM has not satisfied the requirements of Hawaii Environmental Law; she recommend that the HCP be denied. Unfortunately, the BLNR disregarded this recommendation and granted it, instead.
Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree heard oral arguments on December 5, 2018, and then affirmed BLNR's decision on April 10, 2019, granting deference to the agency's decision.
We believe the circuit court and BLNR got it wrong, so we are asking the Supreme Court to review the facts and decisions.
Several years ago, we lost the Turtle Bay Resort EIS case in the lower courts, only to prevail at the Supreme Court. We will continue to fight with the most vigorous case we can bring.
Please help Keep the North Shore Country meet the expenses of pursuing a vigorous presentation of the facts in this case. Expenses include legal fees, discovery, expert depositions, extensive copying fees, etc.
Mahalo for your support!
To preserve, protect and enhance the heritage and rural character of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, in partnership with communities from Kaena Point to Kahaluu.
Keep the North Shore Country (KNSC), in partnership with Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, dozens of communities and organizations and, ultimately, Turtle Bay Resort (TBR), the State of Hawaii, the City and County of Honolulu, the US Army, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) successfully altered a massive development plan into more than 1100 acres of coastal and agricultural land conservation, preservation of Kawela Bay and improved environmental stewardship at Kahuku Point.
In 2015, KNSC negotiated a settlement with TBR, whereby the resort would complete the conservation agreement, provide $200,000 over five years to NSCLT for conservation projects at Kahuku Point and allow KNSC first right to conservation of other valuable shoreline lands owned by the resort.
We continue to work with the other parties to increase land conservation and to follow our mission: To preserve and enhance the heritage and rural character of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, in partnership with communities from Kaena Point to Kahaluu.
© 2021 by Keep the North Shore Country