Monday, September 14, 2020
Approvals for Stanford Carr Development in Lahaina invalidated by court
The court has reaffirmed that the community has a right to participate in shoreline development approval processes. Hopefully, the Maui Planning Commission will begin again to allow interested community members their right to participate in these proceedings. – Attorney Lance D. Collins
From the news release of September 14, 2020
Lahaina, Maui -- The Intermediate Court of Appeals invalidated the SMA approvals for Kahoma Villages, a mixed housing development in Lahaina.
In 2014, the area residents led by Michele Lincoln sought to intervene in the Maui Planning Commission Special Management Area (SMA) permit approval process. The commission denied the intervention.
Area residents raised several concerns: the elimination of beach access parking on Kenui Street, access to a six acre community park as required by the community plan, elimination of trees for listed endangered species, adverse impacts to drainage and runoff, destruction of Hawaiian cultural resources, failure to properly investigate the presence of Hawaiian burials in the project area, adverse traffic impacts and potential problems related to evacuation with development occurring in the Tsunami Inundation Zone.
The ICA ruled on three points.
First, the Commission erred when it ruled that the issues raised by the neighboring residents were the kinds of concerns the Commission was required to consider anyways in its decision-making so that intervention wasn't warranted. The Court noted that it was precisely that the residents concerns were within the Commission's decision-making that intervention should have been granted.
Second, the Commission's failure to hold a contested case on the residents concerns violated their right to due process under the Hawai'i State Constitution.
Third, while the Maui County Council granted the project a waiver from obtaining a community plan amendment under the Maui County Code, the state SMA law required the Commission independently find that the project is consistent with community plan before it may approve any project in the SMA.
"We are grateful to the Appeals Court and look forward to making our case before the Planning Commission," said the residents' group leader Michele Lincoln.
Craig G. Nakamura and Arsima A. Muller represented Stanford Carr Development, deputies corporation counsel Thomas Kolbe and Caleb Rowe represented the Maui Planning Commission, and Bianca Isaki represented the Waipio Bay Benevolent Association and Malama Kakanilua as amicus curiae.