2006

Who Would Fill the Thousands of Promised Jobs?

 

Wednesday December 20, 2006

One of the most consistent arguments made by Kuilima Resort Company in support of their expansion plans is the need for jobs.  By most accounts, our state is fully employed, which means that there are more job vacancies than employees to fill them.  Will the resort have to look overseas and import workers to fill thousands of new jobs?  How would that be good for Oahu residents?
“The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii arranged with the U.S. Labor Department to bring up to 45 Filipinos here on seasonal work visas through August to help staff the hotel in the face of the nation's tightest labor market. A handful of other hotels have also inquired about the process as they are having trouble filling jobs with the state's unemployment rate at 2.1 percent.”

Governor Lingle Understands

 

Monday December 18, 2006

"Continuing to base our economy and our future on land development is foolhardy because land is finite, and because land development often causes deep rifts in our island community, a community the depends so heavily on harmony amoung our people. These rifts will become more frequent and intense over time as the amount of developable land diminishes. Because we have based our economy on land development for so long, because even average citizens see buying and selling real estate as the only path to financial security,and because we have somehow survived the bitter public debates over land development projects, the natural inclination for many is to keep doing what we have been doing. But this would be a very unwise path for us to follow." This is from the Governor's 2006 Inaugural Address.  In her State of the State address in January, the Governor plans to "talk in greater detail and offer specific proposals to reposition our economy from one that creates wealth throught the buying and selling of land and one that creates wealth through innovation and new ideas." 

Survey: Hawaii is Run for Tourists

 

Monday December 18, 2006

Most residents feel that Hawaii is run for tourists at the expense of local people and 76 percent -- the highest number to date -- do not want any more hotels built on their islands, according to the 2006 resident sentiment survey released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Fewer than half of Hawaii's residents feel that tourism makes the overall quality of life better for them and that it is primarily good for their families, although 51 percent -- compared to 36 percent last year -- agreed that the state needs more tourism jobs. The survey, which is conducted for HTA, the state's tourism marketing arm, also asked residents about their feelings toward other types of tourism growth including the following: Fewer residents -- 52 percent compared to 79 percent in 2003 -- think that having more cruise ships stop at their home islands is good. Significantly fewer residents feel that hotels converted into or added as time shares are good for the state. Also showing significant decreases were residents who feel that more vacation homes in resort areas and outside resorts in agricultural subdivisions are good for Hawaii. The survey, which polled 1,609 residents statewide, was conducted from September through November by Market Trends Pacific Inc. and John M. Knox & Associates Inc. The survey's bottom line was that while Hawaii residents understand the economic benefits of tourism, 37 percent believe that local government and the industry have not done enough to balance such benefits with problems caused by rapid growth, according to Knox.

Fundraising Dinner a Huge Success

 

Monday December 18, 2006

Our fundraiser at Waimea Valley on November 25th was a great success as nearly 300 people came out to raise money for the legal actions and enjoy a fabulous meal, friendship and entertainment.  The band Wayfinder provided great music from the time the doors opened, through dinner and to the close of the silent auction, when John Cruz took the stage and played until the party ended.  A positive energy filled the pavilion throughout the night and was strenghtened by comments from our legal team.  With that kind of enthusiasm, it should not be difficult to do similar events again and again.  It is clear that we gain strength as every day passes. 

Everyone knows Turtle Bay Resort Should Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

 

Sunday December 03, 2006

The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star Bulletin both printed this editorial. Intuitively, logically, ethically and responsibly, everyone knows that a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) should be prepared before the developers at Turtle Bay Resort are allowed to proceed.  We believe the courts will add “legally” to this list of reasons.

According to Kuilima Resort Company, the folks who want to expand Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore from 500 to 4000 hotel and condo units, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) completed in 1985 is as valid today as it may have been 21 years ago.
Inconveniently for the developers, virtually nobody has come out in support of the project as proposed, while the list of opponents is overwhelming.

Read the essay

Kuilima has bridges to build with residents

 

Thursday November 16, 2006

The Honolulu Advertiser wrote an editorial this morning about the need for Kuilima Resort Company to seriously involve the community.  It concludes with:

"If Kuilima is genuine in efforts to bridge the gap with the community, the company needs to make all its commitments legally binding, even those not covered by the unilateral agreement. The company also needs to follow through on giving residents access to information; a fledgling Web site (kuilimainfo.com) is still in building stages.

The North Shore, and O'ahu at large, deserves to know what the community is being asked to bear."

An Appeal is Likely

 

Wednesday November 15, 2006

KNSC, the Sierra Club, and many on O`ahu are disappointed with the ruling of the Court.  It appears that the Court failed to take into account many of the community’s arguments regarding the need for a public review process where the passage of so much time leads to new and different impacts requiring consideration and evaluation.  Because the Court’s ruling sets a precedent that locks the public out of the planning process when new significant impacts are unconsidered, KNSC and the Sierra Club are carefully considering their options for appeal. 

Judge Dismisses our Lawsuit

 

Monday November 13, 2006

Keep the North Shore Country will review all available options, including a formal appeal of the rulings handed down in Circuit Court today by the Honorable Sabrina McKenna.  Judge McKenna accepted one of Kuilima Resort Company's motions to dismiss our case and denied our motion for summary judgment.  More details will follow in the coming days, so check back regularly for updates. Our work is far from finished, so the fundraising events will continue as planned.

Court Asked to Rule in Favor of KNSC and Sierra Club and Marco Gonzalez Joins the Legal Team

 

Thursday October 26, 2006

Keep the North Shore Country (KNSC) and Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter (Sierra Club), have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, requesting the Court forego a trial and require the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) to order a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) regarding the Kuilima Resort Company’s (KRC) plans for expansion.

The motion sets forth how circumstances have changed over 21 years, as well as the environmental impacts not previously studied in the original EIS.  It also includes expert testimony in support of the very obvious conclusion that an SEIS should be required.  Indeed, this is the classic case in which such a study is necessary.

On May 19, 2006, KNSC, a local grassroots organization, sued the City and County of Honolulu, Director of Planning and Permitting Henry Eng, and Kuilima Resort Company to require an SEIS for KRC’s Expansion Project at Kawela Bay and Turtle Bay Resort.  On June 7, 2006, the Sierra Club formally joined the legal action.

KNSC recently expanded its impressive legal team to include Marco Gonzalez of Coast Law Group, a leading environmental firm in California.  Marco has successfully negotiated and litigated complex disputes on behalf of numerous non-profit environmental organizations and community groups.  He joins Bill Hunt and Laura Couch at Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing as lead attorneys on behalf of KNSC in this litigation.
Building their case over the past five months, KNSC and Sierra Club have compiled testimony from experts in traffic engineering, sociology, and endangered species habitat, all setting forth strong analyses supporting the necessity of an SEIS for KRC’s proposed expansion.
The hearing on this motion is scheduled before the Honorable Sabrina S. McKenna in the First Circuit Court of the State of Hawaii on Monday, November 13, 2006, at 9:45 a.m.

Turtle Bay Application Needs More Openness

 

Tuesday October 17, 2006

Here, in its entirety, is an editorial by the Honolulu Advertiser that is right on the money. 

North Shore residents have seen this happen before, and not too long ago: Decisions are being made on a key public issue of great community concern with very little discussion conducted in the open.

First it was the ownership of Waimea Valley that was largely debated behind closed doors. While that controversy finally ended well, with the preservation of a cultural resource, this is not how planning for the future should be conducted.

So it's frustrating to see that the city recently issued a tentative approval on the subdivision application for the Turtle Bay resort expansion with so little opportunity for public comment.

City officials underscore that the approval is not final and that planners were legally bound to take some action by Oct. 26. Meanwhile, lawyers have urged the City Council to table all public discussions of the project because of a pending lawsuit challenging the validity of an environmental impact statement issued more than 20 years ago.
All of this may be legally sound, strictly speaking, but residents are left with the galling realization that they have no audience before their elected city officials.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann reports that he has met with developers Kuilima Resort Co. and is "encouraged" by its openness to suggestions. That's fine, but the rest of us would like to see a little of that openness, too.
If some measure of expansion at Turtle Bay proceeds, as it undoubtedly will, it needs to be based on a process with transparency. Kuilima and the city may not be able to sit down with the litigants in a pending lawsuit, but the virtual shutdown of the entire conversation seems pointless, especially as the permitting process moves along without constraint.

Tentative Subdivision Approval Does Not Affect the Legal Proceedings

 

Friday October 13, 2006

The news broke today that the Department of Planning and Permitting issued Tentative Subdivision Approval to Kuilima Resort Company on September 29, 2006.  The developer now has one year to fulfill the remaining conditions, including getting the State Department of Transportation to confirm that they have no objections to the plan.

This approval does not affect the legal efforts by Keep the North Shore Country to compel the DPP to order a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.  The Courts will have the final say on whether or not a Supplemental EIS will be required.  Please send a donation to support our legal efforts.

Read the story in the Honolulu Advertiser

Read Mayor Hannemann’s Statement

Petition of 5000 Signatures Delivered to the Mayor's Office

 

Thursday October 05, 2006

Defend Oahu Coalition recently brought more than 50 people and a petition containing 5000 signatures to Honolulu Hale and the Mayor's Office to protest the expansion plans at Turtle Bay.  While at least two television news teams covered the event, both major newspapers failed to report on it.  Curious, isn't it?  The petition says:

"As a resident of Oahu, I am concerned about the proposed expansion of Turtle Bay Resort. This project was designed and approved for conditions that existed twenty years ago.  Times, conditions and communiy needs have changed. I am concerned that another development on the North Shore would be detrimental to the entire island - taking away valuable recreational and cultural space as well as exacerbating problems such as traffic, waste management and affordable housing."

Labor Day Rally by Defend Oahu Coalition

 

Tuesday September 05, 2006

Defend Oahu Coalition organized a rally outside of Turtle Bay Resort on Labor Day, September 4, 2006, to remind the residents and politicians of Oahu that there is virtually no support for the proposed expansion.

Here are links to the media coverage:
Pacific Business News - PBN Online
Honolulu Advertiser (Archive story not available)
KHON News (Archive story not available)
KHNL News

Singapore Comparisons

 

Tuesday September 05, 2006

Choon James, in a recent article for the North Shore News, draws some alarming parallels between the extremely built up island nation of Singapore and Oahu. Here are some of the key paragraphs.

This little island, smaller than Oahu, has grown to about four million people.  This does NOT include the thousands of maids and laborers from Java, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

Thirty years ago, Singapore was where Oahu is today.  SIngapore has lost much of its sense of place....  I did not see a bird the whole time I was there.  It has indeed become a very crowded concrete jungle.

When does a little island become too crowded and loses its natural resources and quality of life?

North Shore News Article

Former Governor Aroshi Quote

 

Friday July 07, 2006

Former Governor Arioshi writes in HawaiiBusiness.com:

"It becomes clearer with each passing month that we must turn from ad hoc skirmishing to a much deeper assessment of how we are using our limited land space. The makeshift compromise for the Big Island’s Hokulia development comes to mind. The proposal to build five hotels at Turtle Bay is a prime example, as I attempted to point out last month. So is the announced plan to transform Waiawa into something bigger than Kapolei — a plan that, like Turtle Bay, is based on long-standing zoning developed for other circumstances.

"To frame a new land-use initiative, we must ask, “Where are we on the curve of change? Where do we want to go?”

It's Called 'Country' for a Reason

 

Tuesday June 27, 2006

"Aside from donning green bumper stickers that read: "Keep the North Shore COUNTRY" and "Keep the Country COUNTRY" on every vehicle in sight, residents are calling, writing, faxing and emailing their government officials and pleading for re-assessment of the impact this development would have on the already fragile Hawaiian environment."
-SurferMag.com June 27, 2006

Turtle Bay For Sale, Close To Settling Contract

 

Friday June 23, 2006

According to Pacific Business News, Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles has let it be known in investment circles that the oceanfront hotel and surrounding property is for sale or available for an equity partnership with a company that would develop the area.  On PBN Fridays, Howard Dicus mentioned that Michael Dell of Dell Computers is a possible partner.  Read the PBN Article. 

Sierra Club Joins the Lawsuit

 

Thursday June 08, 2006

The First Amended Complaint, filed June 7, 2006 in the First Circuit Court of the State of Hawai`i, names the Sierra Club, Hawai`i Chapter as a co-plaintiff in the litigation.   Read the Media Release.

Governers Lingle & Arioshi each Comment on the Turtle Bay Expension Plans. Both Major Parties weigh in

 

Friday June 02, 2006

Governor Lingle (R)

With supporting comments from Governor Linda Lingle, the Hawaii Republican Party on Sunday passed a resolution asking the City and County of Honolulu to thoroughly review the application for subdivision approval at Kawela/Turtle Bays by Kuilima Development Company.  The Democratic Party passed a similar resolution on the same day.

Here is the Republican Party Resolution: Resolution: Reevaluation of Kuilima Expansion Project 
The Democratic Party Resolution is no longer available in web archive format. 

Former Governor Arioshi (D)

Former Governor George Arioshi writes in an article in the June 2006 issue of Hawaii Business called Keeping the Country Country, 

"In my view, we had best do what we can to preserve the rural character of the Windward Side.  Everyone seems to value it. People do want the country to be truly country."

Media Coverage of the Lawsuit

 

Monday May 22, 2006

KHPR Radio (audio) 

Honolulu Advertiser

Honolulu Star Bulletin (Archive story not available)

KOHN News (Archive story not available)

KITV News (Archive story not available)

KGMB News (Archive story not available)

Lawsuit Filed to Require EIS

 

Friday May 19, 2006

The litigation stems from the massive development planned for Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of O`ahu.  The proposed project was initially approved in 1986 and provides that the resort, now consisting of just under 500 hotel rooms, will expand to eight times that size to approximately 4000 total hotel and condominium units.

Read the Media Release

Letter to Mayor Hannemann

 

Friday May 19, 2006

We would like to settle this lawsuit immediately if the Department of Planning and Permitting would agree to require a supplemental EIS wihtin the next 30 days.  We appreciate your continued support and concern for the North Shore, and hope that you can assist us in this matter.

Read our letter to Mayor Hannemann