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Opinion: Massive Ka‘u project being proposed

Malama pono,

With the Ka‘u community already devoting its time and energy on its Community Development Plan, a developer is trying to weasel in a massive 16,000 acre development between Mamalahoa Hay and Pohue Bay just south of Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. This area is larger than H.O.V.E. and over 10 times the size of Hokulia.

You can read a complete description of the project via its Environmental Impact Statement Public Notice *EISPN” at http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Hawaii/2000s/2009-09-08-HA-EISPN-Kahuku-Villages.pdf

The proposed project would wipe out a pristine open area with:

  • Three coastal resort hotel complexes with up to 950 units
  • Two 18-hole nearshore golf courses
  • 850 golf resort homes
  • An airport
  • 70 airport lots
  • Up to 1,050 residential lots clustered around a commercial Village Core just south of the current Ocean View Village Center.
  • 170 20-acre agricultural lots

Please take the time write a short letter of opposition to this illegal development. This letter will ensure that your comments must be addressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The public comment period for the Environmental Impact Statement Public Notice ends Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Your comments must be sent to each of the following three addresses:

Ms. Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, Planning Director
County of Hawaii
Planning Department
Aupuni Center
101 Pauahi Street, Ste 3
Hilo HI 96720

PBR HAWAII
Contact: Mr. Vincent Shigekuni, Vice President
PBR HAWAII
1001 Bishop Street
ASB Tower, Ste 650
Honolulu HI 96813

Nani Kahuku Aina LLC
Mr. Valentine Peroff, President
Ms. Katherine Peroff, Vice President
99-0880 Iwaena Street
Aiea HI 96701

Background information
Over 50 percent of the Nani Kahuku Aina project is in the state Conservation Land Use District for good reason.

The proposed project area is a critical habitat area for at least three endangered species, the hala pepe plant, the Hoary Bat, and the Hawksbill Turtle.

In 2006, the Hawaii Supreme Court in Kelly v. 1250 Oceanside Partners (2006) ruled that both the state and the county of Hawaii have an affirmative duty to protect nearshore marine water quality. At the same time, the University of Hawaii-Hilo Marine Sciences Department issued a report which concluded that West Hawaii’s nearshore marine waters were on the verge of an “environmental disaster” due to deteriorating water quality.

The nearshore waters are currently rated Class AA pristine, “not influenced by humans.” Meanwhile, Class AA marine waters around coastal development in Kona and Kohala are now being be classified by the EPA as “impaired” and the stage has been set for a legal case arguing that nearshore development is an illegal taking of public rights and the public trust.

Needless to say, Nani Kahuku Aina also contains numerous cultural sites. This project is being proposed at a time when the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division has openly admitted that it is “broken” and is under investigation by the U.S. National Park Service.

More importantly, the developer and their consultant, PBR Hawaii, have already revealed their lack of consideration for the Native Hawaiian people and their culture by not disclosing in the EISPN that Nani Kahuku Aina must go through the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process.

Hawaii State Constitution, Article XI, Section 1 states that everyone must, “conserve and protect Hawaii’s natural beauty and all natural resources, including land, water, air, minerals and energy sources … All public natural resources are held in trust by the State for the benefit of the people.”

The Hawaii Supreme Court in Waiola o Molokai, 103 Haw. 401, 439, 83 P.3d 664, 702 (2004) acknowledged the need for preserving Hawaii’s natural ecosystems in parallel with preserving Hawaiians’ cultural link to those ecosystems by “(1) maintaining native Hawaiians’ religious and spiritual relationship to the land and nearshore environment and (2) perpetuating their commitment to ‘malama ka aina,’ which mandates the protection of their natural ecosystems from desecration and deprivation of their natural freshwater resources.” The court found the State inadequately conditioned permitted uses of natural resources that are integral to native Hawaiian customary and traditional rights.

Therefore, Nani Kahuku Aina proposes to cause irreparable harm to constitutionally-protected public trust resources. This is why the community was successful in preventing a previously proposed resort for this property.

With thousands of unbuilt lots in H.O.V.E and an already approved Village commercial center on Mamalahoa Highway, this development would create an insurmountable public infrastructure deficit in Ka‘u. It is a self-serving proposal being made by a few individuals without regard to the Ka‘u community, existing laws and rules, or the Ka‘u Community Development Plan process.

Additional notes:
PBR Hawaii prepared the Environmental Impact Statements for the Hokulia and the Keopuka Lands projects. Both EIS documents were accepted by government agencies despite numerous serious errors. For instance, court rulings later found both projects to be illegal uses of agricultural land and that a Clean Water Act permit had been violated.

Nani Kahuku Aina LLC has received federal funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The EISPN is already flawed because does not acknowledge that Nani Kahuku Aina is subject to the National Historic Preservation Act and the Section 106 process.

Charles Flaherty

Captain Cook, Hawaii

2 Responses to “Opinion: Massive Ka‘u project being proposed”

  1. jjenkins says:

    Thanks for the alert but I do have to ask why you think the development is illegal. If there are requirements to be fullfilled is one thing, but if there is a prohibition or moratorium, that's another matter. Please fill us in. Facts, please. Not just opinion.

  2. Aaron Mitchell says:

    This is an unneeded, unwanted development that is proposed with a bunch of dreams. The people of Ocean View do not have enough infrastructure for themselves let alone to afford a huge resort neighbor!

    If you want to live near a bunch of snooty resorts, go move somewhere else! Ka’u is for the traditional agriculture type of people. One look at Oahu and I know I do not want any resort in Ka’u.

    Where does it end? When the entire south coast is covered in fancy resorts? When you cannot bring your grandchildren to the shoreline where you proposed to you wife?

    Only after all the beaches have private gates on them will you learn the error of your ways…

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