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Judge Ibarra rules in favor of Mamalahoa bypass land condemnation

MEDIA RELEASE

Third Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra has ruled for a second time in favor of County of Hawai’i efforts to condemn land to allow completion of the Mamalahoa Bypass Highway.

The county condemnation of the land needed to complete the Bypass Highway from Keauhou to Captain Cook was challenged in court by the owners of the property, including the C&J Coupe Family Limited Partnership.

Ibarra ruled in favor of the condemnation in 2007, but that ruling was appealed to the State Supreme Court by the owners of the property. Last year, the Supreme Court sent the case back to Ibarra with instructions that Ibarra consider the allegation that the condemnation was primarily designed to benefit developer 1250 Oceanside Partners rather than to benefit the public.

In his May 14, 2009 ruling, Judge Ibarra cited studies and plans by the state and county dating back to 1979 that found a public need for a Bypass Highway to relieve “unacceptable” traffic congestion on Mamalahoa Highway.

Ibarra’s ruling noted the widespread public support for the Bypass Highway, and cited the Hawai’i County Council’s 2003 resolution authorizing condemnation of the land for the road. That resolution included a finding that the condemnation and construction of the Bypass Highway served a public purpose.

Ibarra ruled that the Bypass Highway serves the public interest, and found that “no credible evidence was presented that indicated that the County Council intended Oceanside, as opposed to the public, would predominantly benefit” from the condemnation resolution. “The Bypass is a much needed road for the public’s benefit,” Ibarra wrote in his ruling.

Ibarra was also instructed by the Supreme Court in the 2008 ruling to consider whether attorney’s fees and other costs claimed by the Coupe Family Limited Partnership in connection with an unsuccessful 2001 county condemnation attempt were appropriate.

Ibarra’s decision on that matter reduced the fees and costs claimed by the landowner from $2,192,363 to $1,586,871, and reduced other related costs claimed by the landowner from $135,677 to $46,945.

2 Responses to “Judge Ibarra rules in favor of Mamalahoa bypass land condemnation”

  1. alani says:

    Yippee- sort of a no-brainer but thank you Judge Ibarra. Let’s end the madness.
    aloha

  2. Mr Scrufy says:

    It’s about time. I don’t like that the Coupe family got any “punative” monies though, they cost the people of Hawaii County a lot of grief over something that was clearly in the public interest. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been a part of the settlement agreement that allowed the development.

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