2009

NS Sustainable Community Plan Opposes Turtle Bay Resort Expansion

 

Tuesday December 22, 2009


 
It calls for "no further expansion of resort accommodations in the Turtle Bay complex because of the adverse impacts ... on the North Shore's infrastructure, particularly on Kamehameha Highway, and on its quality of life."
 
Honolulu Advertiser -12/22/09

The plan, intended to help guide public policy, investment and decision-making over the next 20 years in the region, seeks to keep the rural qualities of the North Shore from Kaena Point to just before Kawela Bay, which is part of Turtle Bay Resort's property.

Oral Arguments

 

Thursday December 17, 2009

We are very pleased with the fantastic representation before the Hawaii Supreme Court by Rory Wicks, our lead counsel from Coast Law Group LLP.  He was extremely knowledgable on the facts of the case and all aspects of environmental law, and he was very compelling in presenting the reasons why the Turtle Bay Resort Expansion Plan is THE CLASSIC CASE FOR A SUPLEMENTAL EIS.
The Court will now take the matter under advisement.  It is not know when they may be ready to render a ruling.   - 12/17/09
News Roudup
Honolulu Advertiser - 12/17/09 Preview
Honolulu Advertiser - 12/18/09 Report
HawaiiOceanLaw.com - Read the Live Blogging Transcript
KHON
Hawaii News Now
Will you help us with a tax-deductible donation today? We need your help to win this legal battle!

Last Minute Filings

 

Thursday December 17, 2009

theirs on December 7.  We protested Land Use Research Foundation's first request to file a brief and it was denied, but their second request was accepted and they filed on December 15.  Likewise, First Hawaiian Bank's first request to file a brief was denied, but their second request was accepted and theyfiled on December 16.
 
Justice Acoba declared that one of his clerks previously worked for the law firm who drafted the amicus curiae for First Hawaiian Bank, but neither side objected.   - 12/17/09

Three Amicus Briefs in support of Kuilima Resort Company were filed right up to the day before oral arguments.  The North Shore Career Training Center, along with Kahuku Community Association and Laie Community Association filed

Talk Story 2 Held in Kahuku

 

Monday December 14, 2009


 
Abbey Meyer, the Director of the State Office of Planning, was the only state official to participate in the discussion and Reed Matsuura, aid to Councilman Donovan dela Cruz, was the only City representative to join the panel.  Sadly, no other politicians of government leaders made themselves available and only a few offered written comments which were read aloud.
 
150 people is no small number of interested community members who were keen to hear updates from Denise Antolini, representing the Governor's Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group; Creighton Mattoon, from the Koolauloa Hawaiian Civic Association, Rev. Bob Nakata, speaking on Hawaiian burials; Gil Riviere, of Keep the North Shore Country;Tim Vandeveer, from Defend Oahu Coalition; and DeeDee Letts, moderator.

Approximately 150 people turned out on December 8, 2009 to listen to a panel of speakers on the current and possible future status of the Turtle Bay Resort.  Organized by Defend Oahu Coalition, Talk Story 2 was held in the same venue, Kahuku High and Intermediate School, as the original Talk Story which featured Governor Lingle and her initiative to preserve the undeveloped lands of the resort that had fallen into foreclosure.

More Amicus Activity

 

Wednesday December 02, 2009

Amicus Curiae in support of KNSC was accepted.
North Shore Career Training Center, joined by Kahuku Community Association and Laie Community Association, submitted an Amici Curiae in support of KRC and it was accepted.  - 12/2/2009

Defend Oahu Coalition's

Traffic Forecast for North Shore Unbelievable

 

Tuesday November 03, 2009

We shared our concerns with the Hawaii Department of Transportation, but they stood by their acceptance of the report.  The Honolulu Advertiser publishedour thoughts on this subject today. - 11/03/09
 
Advertiser Article
Letter to DOT
Response from DOT
TIAR Regional Growth Assumptions
TIAR Regional Impacts Summary
TIAR Figure 5 - Showing growth comparisons
 
Share your thoughts - Send a letter to the Editor
 

Kuilima Resort Company amazingly claims that Kamehameha Hwy will not exceed its capacity by 2028, even with full build out!  After carefully reviewing the two volume report, we found some of the basic assumptions to be highly suspect.  

Supreme Court will hear our Case!

 

Thursday October 29, 2009

Hearing rescheduled to December 17, 2009, at 9 a.m.
October 15, 2009:
Keep the North Shore Country and Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, are pleased that the Hawaii Supreme Court has agreed to hear our case on the need for a Supplemental EIS for the Turtle Bay Resort Expansion Plan.
Kuilima Resort Company, now headed by local developer Stanford Carr, is seeking Final Subdivision Approval for five new hotels and 1000 luxury condos at the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's rural North Shore.  The resort, which has about 500 hotel and condo units, would be expanded to 4000 units based on a development plan approved 23 years ago.  The Environmental Impact Statement used in the approval process was completed in 1985.
In question is whether the resort would ever have to produce a Supplemental EIS as long as there is no change in the project originally approved.  Much has changed in the last two decades, most notably the rapid growth in traffic congestion along the narrow, two-lane Kamehameha Highway, the only regional roadway on the North Shore.
The expansion plan is extremely unpopular due to concerns of over-development of the rural area, traffic gridlock, new environmental concerns such as endangered monk seals giving birth on the resort property, and the likelihood of disturbing ancient Hawaiian burials.
The resort, formally owned exclusively by Oaktree Capital Management, has been in foreclosure limbo since 2007 after it defaulted on $400 million in loans to Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo.  The creditors hired Carr to move the troubled project forward and the Tentative Subdivision Approval granted in 2006 is now on its fifth extension.
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are scheduled for November 19, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.  We still have a substantial balance on our legal bills and we will have more costs to prepare for the Supreme Court.  If you have not yet been able to send $10, 25, or $100 (or more)to help the cause, now is the time. 

Will you help us with a tax-deductible donation today?
We need your help to win this legal battle!

Six Organizations File Amici Curiae

 

Thursday September 17, 2009

Conservation Council of HawaiiSurfrider FoundationHawaii's Thousand FriendsLife of the LandMaui Tomorrow Foundation and KAHEA, represented byEarthjustice,  have filed a Friends of the Court Brief in support of our request to the Supreme Court.

"This case highlights why allowing a project to plow ahead based on an outdated EIS, just because the project itself hasn't changed, makes no sense," said Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake.  "It is precisely because the project hasn't changed, despite an entire generation of change on the North Shore, that we need an update on the true impacts of the original proposal."
 
Read the Media Release
Honolulu Advertiser
USA Today
Howard Dicus

We are very pleased to announce that

Court Should Clarify Worth of Years-Old EIS

 

Tuesday September 15, 2009


If the high court decides to take the appeal, as it should, the state will get clearer direction of how environmental law should apply to development that has languished on the drawing boards for years. 
And although the Kuilima Resort Co. project is at the center of this case, there are other projects with environmental impact statements prepared long ago. The original proposal for Makena Resort on Maui, for example, was based on an EIS completed in 1974.
It is not right that the developers should be allowed to begin development 20 or 200 years after an EIS is accepted without having to reconsider potential impacts.  Keep the North Shore Country and Sierra Club have been seeking a Supplemental EIS for the Turtle Bay Resort in the courts since 2006.  If the Supreme Court does not accept the case, our challenge of the environmental review will probably be over.
Meanwhile, Stanford Carr continues to press ahead with the expansion plan and continues to seek final subdivision approval from the City and County of Honolulu.  They are very close.
We are near the end of the process.  Now is the time to speak up!
This editorial gives you an excellent opportunity to share your concerns about the Turtle Bay Resort Expansion Plan and the City’s refusal to order a supplemental EIS.  Please take a moment to send your comments to the Letters to the Editor and also post an on-line comment.  Letters to the Editor are more effective.
Advertiser Letters to the Editor Include your name and contact information so they can confirm your identity and publish your letter.
Comment on-line on the editorial      

The Honolulu Advertiser’s wrote in an editorial:

KNSC and Sierra Club Petition Supreme Court

 

Tuesday September 08, 2009

Keep the North Shore Country and the Hawai`i Chapter of the Sierra Club asked the Hawai`i Supreme Court to decide whether a supplemental environmental review of the proposed Turtle Bay Resort expansion is necessary. The last environmental impact statement (“EIS”) -- finished in 1985 -- does not take into account significant community and environmental changes that occurred in the past twenty-four years. "Good decisions require good information," said Gil Riviere, President of Keep the North Shore Country. “We’re concerned the City and County of Honolulu should not rely solely on a stale 1985 analysis.” Since 1985, significant traffic problems have developed near the Turtle Bay Resort and endangered species, like the Hawaiian Monk Seal, have been spotted nesting around the proposed construction area. This information cannot be considered unless a spplemental EIS is prepared.
Read the Media Release  9/8/09
KHPR News Report  9/9/9

Jeff Johnson

 

Sunday August 30, 2009

Jeff Johnson, the nicest guy you ever met, lost his battle with cancer on August 17, 2009.  Jeff had a way of making everyone feel special.  He remained positive and active long into his illness.  We have lost a great friend.

Jeff Johnson was a devoted husband and father.  He and Patti raised three exemplary sons who have also built loving families and who help to make the North Shore and the world a better place to live.  Jeff was one of the pioneering, modern-day watermen on the North Shore.  He was a craftsman and successful contractor. 

Keep the North Shore Country would not have been created without Jeff's commitment to preserving the North Shore.  His wise counsel as Vice President and Director will be sorely missed.

 

Several hundred friends turned out to honor Jeff's life at Ehukai Beach Park, 8/30/09.

KGMB News

ICA Rules Against an SEIS

 

Friday May 22, 2009

Of course, the resort does not exist in a vacuum and potential changes in impacts of the expansion and within the vicinity should not be blindly disregarded.

The ICA Dissenting Opinion notes, “The overriding purpose of HEPA (Hawaii Environmental Protection Act) is to ensure that an agency is provided with relevant information about the environmental impacts of a proposed project so that the agency can make informed decisions about the project.”
Also, “DPP failed to consider appropriate factors and follow correct procedures in deciding not to require an SEIS.”  Under Kuilima and DPP’s interpretation of the law, “the 1985 EIS would remain valid in perpetuity and no SEIS could ever be required, so long as no substantive changes to the design of the project were made.”  This interpretation leads to absurd conclusions.
Hawaii Legal News

On May 22, 2009, in a 2-1 decision, the ICA agreed with the Circuit Court's decision that since the total number of resort units is unchanged 23 years later,  no further review of potential impacts is required.

Land Use Commission Punts again on 1986 Conditional Zoning Change Ruling

 

Tuesday February 10, 2009


Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.  -02/10/09

"The state Land Use Commission has deferred for a second time a motion that would force Kuilima Development Co. to defend a land-use change granted 23 years ago that would allow for hotel expansion at Turtle Bay Resort."

Speculators Do Not Appreciate Rural North Shore's Real Value

 

Tuesday February 10, 2009

Tim Vandeveer , Co-chair of Defend Oahu Coalition, wrote an excellent editorial in the Star Bulletin on February 3, 2009, in which he clearly lays out the advantages of preserving the rural character of the North Shore by not over-developing the Turtle Bay Resort.

"Some argue that the expansion is needed for jobs, and some feel that it will accommodate yet-to-be-seen throngs of willing tourists coming to experience part of the "true Hawaii" that the resort advertises. Most, however, feel that such massive development would threaten the viability of the existing resort by compromising the very reason that guests come to the country, or as Turtle Bay recently described it, '(true Hawaii is) pristine, unspoiled North Shore beaches ... unobstructed views of crystalline ocean.' "

Read the whole thing here.  - 02/10/09

Kawela Bay Still Worth Saving

 

Thursday January 08, 2009

Send a letter to the Advertiser


Send a letter to the Star Bulletin

 

 

 

News Coverage - 01/08/09

Honolulu Advertiser
Honolulu Star Bulletin
Pacific Business News
Hawaii Reporter
KHON

The Governor announced yesterday that the state made two offers to purchase the Turtle Bay Resort, but neither was accepted.

While details were few, it seems the proposals would have preserved most of the undeveloped lands, allowed the condo owners to finally buy the fee simple interest, and provided for another hotelier to buy the existing hotel operations.

The Governor should be applauded for her efforts to preserve this precious rural part of Oahu.  Nobody said the task would be easy or quickly accomplished.

Those who argue that the depressed economy overrides the need for long range planning and preservation should know that the solution to slumping tourism is not more hotel rooms.

In the long run, preserving the natural beauty and low density of the North Shore is in everyone's interest.  Kawela Bay and the rural North Shore are still worth fighting to preserve.

Please send letters to the newspapers and to your elected officials to let them know you are still committed to Keep the Country COUNTRY!

 

 

Latest Motion Denied - Appeal Still Pending

 

Thursday January 08, 2009

Keep the North Shore Country recently filed a motion to prevent the City and County of Honolulu from issuing Final Subdivision Approval until the legal questions over the need for an SEIS are decided. These injunction requests are very difficult to win and the court denied the motion. 

Oral arguments on the need for an SEIS were held at the Hawaii State Intermediate Court of Appeals on April 9, 2008, but the court has not yet ruled.

KRC received Tentative Subdivision Approval on September 29, 2006 and received three extensions to complete the conditions. They may be close to receiving Final Subdivision Approval.  - 01/08/09