Thursday, June 25, 2020


Media group lawsuit succeeds in opening public access to contested case hearing over the Grand Wailea Resort's proposed expansion permit application

by Larry Geller

The case of Disappeared News v. The Maui Planning Commission has resulted in an apparent victory for those insisting that open government rules be followed.

In an order sending the matter back to the Maui Planning Commission to obtain relief, the Hawai'i Supreme Court noted that: "the Planning Department, BRE, and Intervenors agree that public access should be provided to the contested hearing by the Planning Commission. It appears that the parties generally favor arranging for livestream or alternative means for the public to observe the proceedings."

"Without the intervention of the Hawaii Supreme Court, this case would have continued in the darkness of closed proceedings. We look forward to a formal announcement on how the public may observe the conduct of these proceedings." said attorney Lance D. Collins. He has requested that if the hearings officer does not reopen the proceedings officially that the matter be placed on the Maui Planning Commission's next meeting agenda, which is scheduled to occur before the rescheduled hearing date for the contested case.

If the Commission does not open its hearing, the parties are allowed to return to the Supreme Court for further relief.

In contention are also demands for recusal of the hearings officer. See:

Maui Planning Commission sneaks Hawaiian burial group’s motion onto agenda, hears arguments without allowing public testimony

For those wishing to take a deeper dive into the issues in the hearing, a trove of 36 documents is available for download here:

and a Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest post is here:


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