Gil Riviere spoke with Beth Ann Koslovich about SB894. Listen to the interview from 34:29 to 44:00 in the timeline. -2/27/13
Legislation could save Kawela Bay and other Turtle Bay lands!
3/5/13 - Following a March 4, 2013 letter from Replay Resorts, Senator Hee agreed to hold SB 894 so that the resort developer can begin good faith negotiations with the State regarding conservation of coastal lands.
Willingness by the Developer to expand dialogue is welcome and timely. Here is our statement on the matter.
2/22/13 - The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor and the Committee on Ways and Means deferred SB894 until February 27th.
2/3/13 - A bill that could save Kawela Bay and other beaches at the Turtle Bay Resort from development will be heard by a Senate Committee on Tuesday afternoon, at 1:50 p.m., in Capitol Room 225.
SB 894 authorizes the state to expend funds, swap land and explore other solutions to help preserve Turtle Bay lands. This may be a winning strategy because the current developer is willing to explore conservation alternatives and the state will be left with unsolvable traffic problems if the currently proposed plan is implemented.
Please submit a statement of support for SB 894 here. Your comments can be a simple as "Please pass SB 894." or you can add details with "I support SB 894 because..." Click here for more information and sample testimony.
If you can, please try to present your testimony in person at the Capitol on Tuesday. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:50 p.m., but this could be delayed if earlier hearings run longer than planned.
We wish to thank Senator Clayton Hee for introducing SB 894 and to Senator Malama Solomon for scheduling the bill for hearing.
This is an important bill to keep alive, so please submit your testimony - right now. Please submit a statement of support for SB 894 here. Mahalo. -
Draft Supplemental EIS
Turtle Bay Resort, LLC, published its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) on November 23, 2012. The Statutory Deadline for submitting comments was January 7, 2013, but the developer voluntarily invited comments until January 18, 2013.
Turtle Bay Resort is now in the process of reviewing and responding to comments made on their Draft Supplemental EIS (DSEIS). Keep the North Shore Country, several organizations and many concerned individuals uncovered serious flaws in the DSEIS.
We have requested the Department of Planning and Permitting require proper impact analyses and a Revised DSEIS to be circulated for additional comment. It is unreasonable that such a flawed document as the DSEIS might be accepted without major revisions. - 2/3/13
Here are links to certain comments submitted by us and other concerned organizations.
The Pikake Pavilion in Waimea Valley was filled with hundreds of happy supporters on Friday Evening, May 14, 2010. Four years after the latest chapter in the Turtle Bay Resort expansion plan surfaced and a month after the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled for KNSC and Sierra Club, people were ready to celebrate.
We were honored by the presence of Rory Wicks, from Coast Law Group, and Tom Brohard, our traffic expert, both visiting from California. John Gray, who coined the term "Keep the Country Country" back in the 70s, flew in from Thailand to join the festivities.
Reverend Bob Nakata provided the invocation. Lucky Cole gave noted the contributions of key players over the years, including Creighton and Cathleen Mattoon, DeeDee Letts, Nakata, Defend Oahu Coalition, and our great legal team. A great applause went out in memory of Jeff Johnson, the person most responsible for forming KNSC.
Gil Riviere thanked everyone for their continuing support and reminded them that this legal battle is not the end of the story, but one important step for the community to be engaged in the future plans for the resort.
Kuilima Resort Company's press releases about the creditors taking control of the resort in lieu of foreclosure miss the point entirely. The expansion of the Turtle Bay Resort from about 500 rooms to 4000 resort units is overwhelming unpopular because of the potentially catastrophic impacts such an expansion would cause on the North Shore community.
A new holding company formally took ownership of theTurtle Bay Resort this week. After more than two years in foreclosure, the creditors behind the action have formally taken control. Oaktree Capital Management walks away from the resort and 469 acres of farm land mauka of Kamehameha Hwy in exchange for $400 million they borrowed in 2005. - 02/24/10
Defend Oahu Coalition has been pursuing a motion to show cause why the 1986 Conditional Zoning Change should not be rescinded on 236 acres at the Turtle Bay Resort. On February 4, 2010, the Land Use commissiont considered denying the motion and, alternatively, modifying the ordinance to place a time limit going forward. After two years of consideration, the LUC still has not been able to decide on a course of action. - 02/24/10
Noe Tanigawa reports on the beauty of Kawela Bay for Hawaii Public Radio. - 1/8/10
NS Sustainable Community Plan Opposes Turtle Bay Resort Expansion
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.
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."
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
Will you help us with a tax-deductible donation today? We need your help to win this legal battle!
Last Minute Filings
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 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 they filed 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
Talk Story 2 Held in Kahuku
Play Date TimeChannel
1/26/10Tue9:30 amOAHU 52
1/27/10Wed2:00 pmOAHU 52
1/29/10Fri6:00 pmVIEW 54
1/31/10Sun6:00 pmVIEW 54
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.
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.
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
Traffic Forecast for North Shore Unbelievable
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. We shared our concerns with the Hawaii Department of Transportation, but they stood by their acceptance of the report. The Honolulu Advertiser published our thoughts on this subject today. - 11/03/09
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!
"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."
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.
September 8, 2009: KNSC and Sierra Club Petition Supreme Court
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.
Will you help us with a tax-deductible donation today? We need your help to continue this legal battle.
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.
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.
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.
Land Use Commission Punts again on 1986 Conditional Zoning Change Ruling
"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."
Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here. -02/10/09
Speculators Do Not Appreciate Rural North Shore's Real Value
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.' "
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!
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
Koolauloa-North Shore Alliance Year-End Update
The Koolauloa-North Shore Alliance, an association of 26 non-profit organizations who support responsible planning and preservation efforts at Turtle Bay, recently received an update regarding the various efftorts being made to Keep the Country COUNTRY. Click here to read the update concerning efforts by KNSC and Defend Oahu Coalition, and how to let government leaders how you feel. - 12/31/08
Deadline is extended for Turtle Bay sale
"Amid the upheaval in the financial markets, lenders of Turtle Bay Resort have extended a deadline to find a buyer before taking control of the controversial property on Oahu's North Shore."
Kuilima Resort Company was granted an extension to their two year old Tentative Subdivision Approval, which would have expired on September 29, 2008. To qualify for the extension, the company now headed by Stanford Carr had to "begin construction."
The extent of this construction project appears to be a few survey stakes in the ground and a quick scrape of the grass along the side parkway with a grader. It is unclear if they will be required to actually construct something. - 10/03/08
"While taking in all of the stories of heroic activism yesterday, my mindseye wandered to another truly special and largely undeveloped treasure that is being threatened by commercial interests. The Turtle Bay area on the North Shore of Oahu has been facing similar threats of over-development in recent years."
Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz hosted a community meeting with Councilwoman and Mayoral candidate Ann Kobayashi on September 6th at KahukuHigh School to discuss two resolutions that could ffect all residents of the NorthShore and Ko'olauloa.
Resolution 08-192 asks the City Administration to incorporate State processes and conditions when reviewing cultural sites. It is well known that the Turtle Bay Resort is likely to have many ancient burials that could impact development plans.
Resolution 08-193 requests the Department of Planning and Permitting to enforce strict compliance with all applicable laws and unilateral agreement and special management area use permits and shoreline setbacks before issuign any permits or approvals related to any Turtle Bay Resort expansion.
Kuilima Resort Company has until September 29, 2008 to complete its subdivision application process. Stanford Carr, the Interim Management Officer for KRC, has indicated that the company is pressing ahead and trying to complete the subdivision.
The legal question about a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is still pending before the Itermediate Court of Appeals. - 09/08/08
DOC Challenges Conditional Zone Change
Defend Oahu Coalition is challenging the 1985 Conditional Zone Change (Amendment) of 236 acres at Turtle Bay through the State Land Use Commission. DOC is asking the LUC to issue an Order to Show Cause why the reclassification of the parcels of land near Marconi Road should not revert back to Agricultural Classification.
It is undisputed that conditions 1,2,3 and 7 of the nine conditions have not been satisfied. A law established in 1975 requires substantial progress within five years so that zoning changes allow for true development rather than land speculation. At the LUC Hearing on July 11, 2008, the State Attorney General's office suggested that the Commission can amend the order to require a specific timeline. Kuilima Resort Company's attorneys claim that no time requirement was implied in the reclassification action 23 years ago and it is likely they will contest any effort to put a reasonable timeline going forward.
The LUC will take the matter under advisement and they have asked KRC to provide a status report of the approval conditions by September 18, 2008.
Don’t let opportunity to acquire Turtle Bay slip away
"The state's proposed acquisition of the Turtle Bay resort and undeveloped land surrounding the North Shore is proving to be as complicated as anticipated, but the public's support of the plan to preserve at least part of the open space necessitates every effort be made."
Stanford Carr, recently hired Interim Management Officer (IMO) of Kuilima Resort Company, acknowledged to the Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group that the company is still pressing ahead with its controversial subdivision application.
Mr. Carr claimed that community opposition to the expansion and the Task Force actions were creating uncertainty which hurts hotel bookings. When asked if the resort owners could remove this perceived uncertainty with a clear statement that they were committed to the success of the existing hotel, he agreed.
Unfortunately, it seems the money guys in charge of the Turtle Bay Resort are still not ready to hear the clarion message of Hawaii's residents and visitors from around the world: KEEP THE COUNTRY COUNTRY!
This Star Bulletin article also omits the the fact that credit markets and development plans around the world have dried up, so few developers would be eager to step into this troubled project. - 06/30/08
Governor Signs Bill to Acquire Turtle Bay
"With North Shore business and environmental leaders looking on in approval, Gov. Linda Lingle last night signed a bill into law authorizing the state to acquire the Turtle Bay Resort and keep some of the undeveloped land in preservation."
In an opinion piece for the Honolulu Advertiser, Bill Paty, Chair of the Governor's Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group, explains the benefits of the initiative.
"The governor asserted, and correctly so in my view, that "far too long and too often, important pieces of rural Hawai'i have been sold to the highest bidder and then developed into something that forever changed the essence and character of the entire area." As a community, regardless of whether we live in the city or country, on O'ahu or one of the other islands, we owe it to Hawai'i's future generations to preserve special places like the Turtle Bay property." - 06/06/08
Stanford Carr to Manage Kuilima Resort Company
Local developer Stanford Carr has taken over management of the Turtle Bay Resort, replacing Nicola Jones, who is stepping down as CEO of Kuilima Resort Company.
The creditors and resort owner renegotiated the $400 million debt, announced the management change for the resort parcels and clarified that the mauka farm lands will be still be controlled by Oaktree Capital Management, LLC.
Management changes have no effect on our pending litigation seeking a supplemental EIS, Defend Oahu Coalition's challenge to the 1986 Conditional Land Use Change, or the resort's tentative subdivision application that may expire on September 29, 2008.
One hope that Stanford Carr considers the public interest as he moves forward with his task. As Bob Nakata was quoted, "He doesn't want a public relations disaster, because he has other business interests in town."
"Far from the bustle of tourist-filled Waikiki, a rare stretch of undeveloped Hawaii beachfront on Oahu's North Shore has long been under dark clouds of economic troubles and fears of irreparable environmental loss.
Now, the state is stepping in to offer what Gov. Linda Lingle and others call a "green lining" - an opportunity to buy and conserve land surrounding the Turtle Bay Resort that might not be available in better financial times."
"The goal of sustainable tourism becomes easier to achieve when there is a shared vision from government officials, business leaders and the community, according to two visiting experts who have seen the model successfully implemented in other visitor destinations." From the Honolulu Advertiser - 05/12/08
Turtle Bay purchase a tricky undertaking
"(S)eldom does enough political will, opportunity and desire to preserve such a large swath of shoreline on a largely urbanized island materialize, and the possibility of obtaining land as a public legacy for future generations should be explored thoroughly.
"That said, Gov. Linda Lingle, who came up with the idea, has a duty to cut a good deal in negotiating for purchase of the property."
"Acquiring the property is a huge undertaking and will likely be costly. At all stages, the public should be fully informed about the project and allowed to comment."
"As a person who stuck my neck onto the political chopping block on behalf of preserving the windward and north shores of Oahu, I welcome the governor’s recently stated desire to contain development and preserve open space on the island’s northern tip at Turtle Bay.
No single idea about a strategically located piece of land could more influence the long-term character of the island of Oahu.
I wish her every success in her stated vow to acquire the Turtle Bay Resort area before her term is out. Because this will be so costly, it will require a sustained effort and widespread political support."
Defend Oahu Coalition is asking the state to rescind a 1986 reclassification of 236 acres at Turtle Bay, saying that the owners of the property have failed to implement conditions attached to the reclassification.
"Of the nine conditions originally attached to the commission's reclassification order, many have not been met after more than 20 years," said Bob Nakata, co-chairman of the coalition. "We are calling on the Land Use Commission to rescind its 1986 reclassification order based on these facts."
UPDATE: At a preliminary hearing on April 24, 2008, the LUC set a June 5 hearing for a petition filed by the Defend Oahu Coalition urging the agency to rescind its 1986 reclassification of 236 acres in Kahuku from agriculture to urban. - 04/27/08
Town Square Radio Discusion on Turtle Bay
Beth-Ann Kozlovich hosts Town Square, an interactive forum for political, social, educational and cultural issues of local, national and international importance, every Thursday on KIPO, 89.3 FM , from 5 to 6 p.m.
The Town Square topic for March 27, 2008 was the Turtle Bay Initiative. Gil Riviere and Doug Cole, both from Keep the North Shore Country, and Denise Antolini, UH law professor and member of the Turtle Bay Task Force, and Linda Smith, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Lingle, were guests.
Clark Takashima donated this fantastic painting to help raise funds for our legal efforts. "Cool Water" depicts a surfer gliding past a honu and ulua from an unique underwater perspective. The E-Bay auction ended Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:15 a.m. HST. The reserve price was not met. Inquiries for a direct purchase are welcom and should be submitted by email.
The March 5 issue of Honolulu Weekly featured a well written story on the Turtle Bay Resort controversy. Read it here. - 03/20/08
Turtle Bay Plan Gains Support
"Even though lawmakers are killing off much of the governor's legislative package, support is strong for a bill authorizing the purchase of the Turtle Bay resort.
There is progress on several fronts, with the administration trying to get federal money for the purchase, the Legislature moving the legislation along and community members lobbying lawmakers to make sure it happens."
Governor Linda Lingle today announced she has formed a working group to advise the Administration on how to acquire and preserve for public use the Turtle Bay property on O‘ahu’s North Shore.
The 17-member Governor’s Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group will help develop and review various ideas, recommendations and plans that are being proposed on how to acquire the 850-acre property that includes almost five miles of pristine coastline. The Advisory Working Group will also serve as a communications channel to the Ko‘olauloa-North Shore communities. - 3/10/08
Hundreds Turn Out to Support Governor's Initiative The Kahuku High School cafeteria was filled with hundreds residents who enthusiastically supported the Governor's plan to acquire the Turtle Bay Resort that is presently in foreclosure. Positive energy and comments filled the room. The Governor and most of her top level staff were present, along with Senators Hee and Bunda, Representatives Magaoay and Ward, and residents from up and down the coast and as far away as Hawaii Kai. Governor's Turtle Bay webpage
"Gov. Linda Lingle and owners of the 880-acre Turtle Bay Resort will meet for the first time next month to discuss a state proposal to buy the resort, Lingle said yesterday." Read the rest at the Honolulu Advertiser. - 02/27/08
Senate Ways and Means Passes SB 2423
"The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved Senate Bill 2423 yesterday, which gives Lingle the authority to either buy or condemn the property.
Sen. Robert Bunda (D, Wahiawa-North Shore), who is backing the proposal along with Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe), said the committee's action should allow continued discussion on the proposal.
'This puts all the options on the table, and now the parties can negotiate,'Bunda said." From the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Here, too, is KGMB's Report -02/26/08
Koolauloa Advisory Panel Opposes Expansion
An advisory group is recommending that all new resort development at Turtle Bay be stricken from a city plan that guides population and future land use in the island's communities. Read more. -02/22/08
Senate Bill Would Authorize Purchase of Turtle Bay Property
The Senate Committee on Water and Land Committee will vote on Tuesday on a bill to appropriate funds for the purchase of the undeveloped parcels at Turtle Bay. Senators Clayton Hee and Robert Bunda heard testimony on SB 2423 SD1 on Saturday. The conference room was full of citizens who support the initiative and the only testimony in opposition was submitted by email from the resort owners.
Also on Saturday, a new network of supporting organizations held a press conference with Sentator Hee to support the legislation. At the time of the press conference, 15 groups had joined the network. Three more joined the Koolauloa-North Shore Alliance that same day. Read the joint statement.
Governor Lingle challenged Rick Hamada about his recent article regarding her intiative to preserve the undeveloped lands of the Turtle Bay Resort. Speaking on the Rick Hamada Radio Show, the Governor set the record strait about the advantages of pursuing this initiative. Listen to it here. The discussion on the Turtle Bay Resort is in the first segment and during the conclusion. - 02/07/08
Governor Linda Lingle showed true leadership in the State of the State Address by announcing a bold initiative to purchase the Turtle Bay Resort and help preserve the Country for future generations.
“I propose that the Legislature, my administration and community leaders form a working group to explore options and develop an action plan to make sure that this property stays in public lands,” Lingle said. -01/22/08
One new and obvious change since the 1980s is the presence of endangered monk seals. While no more than two monk seals per year were sighted between 1985 and 2000, there were 54 sightings of monk seals at the property in 2006 and a pup was born in June of that year. Here are some photos taken by Katye Killebrew on January 6, 2008. - 1/10/08
Appeal Briefs are All In
Keep the North Shore Country submitted the final briefs to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals on December 28, 2007. The two Reply Briefs were submitted in response to the Answering Briefs from the City and County of Honolulu and Kuilima Resort Company, which likewise has been submitted in response to the Opening Brief.
It is too early to know if the Appeals Court will schedule oral arguments or if they will request more information before ruling on the very important issue of a government agency's requirement to order supplemental environmental impact statements. - 1/10/08
Paragraph 8 of the Foreclosure Complaint states, "Borrower utilized the proceeds of the loan for, among other things, (i) refinancing the existing indebtedness owed by Borrower to a third party lender, (ii) Borrowers making a one-time distribution to the beneficial owners of Borrower, (iii) financing a portion of the development, construciton and other costs associated with the Project." (emphasis added.)
Investors have been worried about the value of these debts for months. Read here, here and here. In May, Kuilima made a special arrangement with the lender to defer payment and admitted to investors that it would be unable to make interest payments beginning June, 2007.
Credit Suisse now claims a balance due of $283 million, including penalties and interest on what was originally a first mortgage balance of $275 million.
The value of a $125 million second mortgage is unclear.
Both equity mortgages were taken on a short term basis when the developer thought it could effortlessly proceed with long dormant expansion plans. A potential sale to Starwood Hotels fell through in July, 2007. Read these news reports 1, 2, 3, 4.
How can this project be allowed to proceed with such a precarious financial situation? - 12/21/07
"The famous scenic cliffs over Sunset Beach and Pipeline almost became the site of a housing project. The preservation of those Pupukea-Paumalu lands, more than a thousand acres of unspoiled North Shore beauty, now represents that rare example of one community's triumph over the powers that be.
One irony of yesterday's Ho'olaule'a festival celebrating Pupukea-Paumalu's permanent protection was the fact that numerous ambassadors of the powers that be thanked the community for succeeding."
Taylor Steele's new movie "Trilogy" premiered at Waimea Valley on December 6th and the event helped raise funds for Keep the North Shore Country. Mahalo to Keiko Beattie for puting on a very fun evening and to all of the wonderful businesses and individuals who helped to make it happen. - 12/10/07
National Geographic Notes Development Concerns
"Development threatens to beat out natural beauty on O'ahu so much so that the current issue of National Geographic's Traveler magazine ranks the island "in serious trouble" as a vacation destination."
Our Second Annual Dinner Party and Silent Auction at Waimea Valley was held on Saturday, November 24th. Hundreds of supporters came out to enjoy music from Johnny Helm, Ernie Cruz, Jr, and Kupa`aina, and hula by Na Lei Nani o Waialua.
One highlight of the night was the donation of $10,000 from Surfrider Foundation to Keep the North Shore Country. Peter Cole spoke as Scott Werny and other directors of the Oahu Chapter presented the check to Gil Riviere. - Updated 12/12/07
A delicious dinner and outstanding service were provided by Waimea Falls Grill. Mahalo to Chet, Thomas, Brigitte, their staff, and to the dozens of businesses who donated valuable services and goods for the silent auction. - 11/28/07
Pancho Sullivan to Share Triple Crown Winnings
Putting his money where his heart is, Pancho Sullivan has pledged to donate ten percent of his winnings from this year’s Triple Crown of Surfing to help Keep the North Shore Country.
Sullivan previously won the Haleiwa Jewel of the Triple Crown and is currently ranked 12th on the World Championship Tour of Surfing. He is definitely a threat to win this year’s Triple Crown and will surf with Keep the North Shore Country stickers on all of his boards throughout the competitions.
Having grown up on the NorthShore, Sullivan has a special affinity for its powerful waves, natural beauty and the community in which he and his family live.“The NorthShore is such a precious place!We really have to be careful we don’t destroy it with inappropriate development.I am proud to support Keep the North Shore Country and their efforts to wake the City up to reasonable decision making.”
Mounting legal challenges against well funded developers and municipalities is expensive. Fortunately, Keep the North Shore Country has overwhelming support from the community and concerned residents like Pancho Sullivan. -11/13/07
"The Balearic islands are to freeze all construction along the most delicate parts of coastlines and around the islands' capitals, which have been blighted by property developments since mass tourism first arrived in Spain in the 60s.
(I)t is understood that it (the government) will place a moratorium on development in one of Mallorca's largest untouched bays, and in urban marshlands in Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca, where construction work was set to begin. Rural land around the newly constructed Son Espases hospital in Palma, located near a medieval monastery, will also be saved."
The tide has turned against rampant development and governments around the world are reconsidering the value of preserving precious natural resources. -11/13/07
The Appellants' Opening Brief, the written appeal of the Circuit Court rulings against Keep the North Shore Country and for Kuilima Resort Company, was filed in the Intermediate Court of Appeals on September 27, 2007.
The City and County of Honolulu have requested additional time to file their Answering Brief and their deadline is now December 4, 2007. Kuilima Resort Company did the same and their new deadline is December 6, 2007. Keep the North Shore Country will likely have six weeks to reply to the Answering Briefs after they are filed by the City and by Kuilima. Oral arguments, if ordered by the Court, may not occur until next spring. Needless to say, a ruling on the appeal is not likely for several months and then an appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court by whichever side loses at the Intermediate Court is possible.
Keep the North Shore Country is committed to ensuring the City's compliance with Hawaii enironmental law. This application for subdivision approval is the classic example of when a Supplemental EIS should be conducted and the Hawaii Supreme Court has shown great concern in protecting the environment.
"Southern Sierran" is the monthly publication of the Sierra Club serving Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California. The October issue features a front page article on the Turtle Bay Resort expansion. - 10/17/07
Kuilima's Subdivision Application Extended
Kuilima Resort Company has received a six-month extension to complete the Turtle Bay Resort Subdivision Process from the Honolulu Department of Planning and Pemitting. The new deadline for satisfying the outstanding conditions of the Tentative Bulk Lot Subdivision Approval is March 29, 2008.
Kuilima is entitled to request one more six-month extension, after which time no extension can be granted unless construction plans have been signed and construction has actually begun on the infrastructure improvements. - 10/15/07
The San Diego Business Journal on the Web writes about opposition to the Turtle Bay Resort Expansion plan and the reluctance of investors to step into the maelstrom. Read it here. - 07/30/07
New Website: Save the North Shore
Some Island visitors from San Francisco were so struck by the need to help protect the North Shore that they created their own website, SaveTheNorthShore.com. They are helping spread the word in their community as well as around the world through their new website. - 07/18/07
Starwood Backs Out Starwood Hotels & Resorts has decided to not move forward on a purchase agreement with Oaktree Capital Management , LLC, on the Turtle Bay Resort. -07/18/07
"Thomas Dye, president of the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, estimates that there are actually hundreds more remains to be unearthed at the site, which he considers a rare archaeological find."
"Dye said any professional archaeologist would have made that prediction, given the sample size and type of soil, when the first 11 sets were originally discovered. And it was clear from the beginning that further investigation would have been appropriate for the site, he said."
"If a company is so bent on making money that they can't consider the needs of the people who live there, that's against our social principles," said Barbara Grace Ripple, pastor of a United Methodist church in Kaaawa and former superintendent of the Hawaii district. "I don't think Oaktree has the interest of the people of the Koolau region at heart. Oaktree is in this to make as much money as they can and get out."
The E-Bay auction of a surfboard Andy Irons rode in winning the 2005 Triple Crown was a great success. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word and to those who made the auction a success, especially Judi Oyama, who put it together. And, of course, thanks to the generous bidder who contributed $2425 to own this piece of surfing history. - 0/06/07
Hawaiians Call for Eng Resignation
`Ilio`ulaokalani Coalition, a statewide grassroots organization comprised of cultural practitioners who advocate for the perpetuation of our culture and the preservation of our sacred lands and the protection of our ‘iwi kupuna is calling for the immediate resignation of Mr. Henry Eng as Director of Permit & Planning for the City & County of Honolulu and a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet..
A press conference has been scheduled at Honolulu Hale on Thursday, July 5th at 10:00am. `Ilio`ulaokalani invites everyone to attend the press conference and stand in solidarity for the resignation of Mr. Eng.
Appeal Filing Update
The lawsuit brought by Keep the North Shore Country and joined by Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, calling for a supplemental environmental impact statement on the proposed Turtle Bay Resort expansion is still in the appeal process. The Notice of Appeal was filed on June 19, 2007 and the appeal briefs are not yet scheduled by the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals.
Our lawsuit, originally filed on May 19, 2006, was consolidated with a similar suit brought by Unite Here Local 5, the hotel workers' union. When the Union settled their labor dispute with Oaktree, they agreed to drop their suit.
The Honorable Sabrina McKenna heard Motions for Summary Judgment on November 13, 2006 and ruled in favor of Kuilima Resort Company and against us. We filed a Notice of Appeal on January 8, 2007. Before the briefs were submitted, a technical error was noted in the court paperwork: the Union's case was still referenced as active, even though they had withrawn.
Additional paperwork was filed by the Union's attorney to clarify that they are no longer party to this lawsuit. When that was recorded, the clock began anew for filing an appeal.
This legal challenge is still very much alive and it will not be affected by any changes in ownership at Kuilima. - 07/04/07
Redesign Requested at Ward Development Because of Extensive Iwi Kupuna
The State Historic Preservation Division is now asking the General Growth Properties development in the Ward area to make major redesigns because of extensive iwi kupuna, or ancestral Hawaiian burials.
'Perhaps this highlights the degree of care with which archaeologists should test for burials at an early stage of the planning and design of such projects," said Murakami (an attorney for Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.). "It is always better to do the right advance archaeological work first before committing to construction which must be stopped to protect those cultural resources which could have been identified earlier.'"
SHPD also recommends more extensive archaeology at Kuilima because of known iwi kupuna and the likelihood of more finds that could impact development. - 06/28/07
Pupukea Paumalu Land Now Preserved
The Trust for Public Land formally acquired the 1100+ acres of land once slated for development by the Obayashi Corporation. After 20 years of hard work by many community leaders,the North Shore Community Land Trust was able to organize a successful purchase of this beautiful piece of land that will now be preserved for future generations to enjoy as open space.
Hawaii Tourism Benefits by Keeping the Country Country
"The importance of “Keeping the Country Country” is quickly understood by visitors who learn about Kuilima’s plans for the North Shore. Oahu needs a healthy balance of both Town and Country if it is to remain a viable and thriving place to live and visit. Will visitors continue to come to Oahu if the entire island is increasingly urban, increasingly developed? Let’s have the conversation before it is too late."
Residents and visitors of Oahu are not alone in concerns over large scale development. A recent survey found 76 percent of residents no longer want any new hotels on their islands and a majority of residents concerned that tourism expansion is occuring at the expense of the residents.
Check out this news article about Punaluu on the Big Island. Check out Save Honolua Coalition for details on a major Maui project proposal. - 06/27/07 Free Concert and Beach Cleanup
Barefoot Wine and the Surfrider Foundation have recently launched the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, a national initiative to make beaches in-need across the country clean and "barefoot-friendly" this summer.
Meet at the Ala Moana Beach Park lagoon near Magic Island for the beach cleanup from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. The free celebration afterwards will be held at the Local Motion Brew Moon in Waikiki, 1958 Kalakaua Ave. Use the complimentary valet service and enjoy Barefoot Wine, surfside fare and a live performance by Jill Cunniff, lead singer of Luscious Jackson.
Surfrider is a great supporter of Keep the North Shore Country. Please help support Surfrider. - 06/20/07
Oahu Can't Support Turtle Bay Expansion
"The proposed massive expansion of the Turtle Bay Resort by Oaktree Capital Management LLC, and its subsidiary, Kuilima Resort Co., threatens to turn O'ahu into one continuous urban center. The huge impact it will have on traffic will make it impossible to feel like you are in the "country" anywhere on O'ahu."
Read the rest of Bob Nakata's commentary in the Honolulu Advertiser. - 06/20/07
Surfrider Helps Keep the North Shore Country
The Surfrider Foundation and Keep the North Shore Country are pleased to announce a new fiscal sponsorship agreement that allows tax deductible donations to Surfrider Foundation to be directed towards the efforts of Keep the North Shore Country.
Be sure to enter “Keep the North Shore Country” in the Special Memorial Fund, Person or Cause Field. 06/20/07
Supporter Stuff Available in the Supporter Store.
Show your support for Keep the North Shore Country by wearing a t-shirt and wristband and put a bumper sticker on you car. T-shirts now come in Tan and sizes range from Children Medium to Adult XXL. The green wristbands are an excellent way to quietly demonstrate support everywhere you go. The bumper stickers continue to be extremely popular.
These items can be purchased online here or at various stores listed here. - 06/19/07
Loving Hawaii to Death
Hawaii has been able to maintain a healthy balance between development and preservation, but is now at an important crossroad, according to a California attorney who is familiar with our fair state.
"In short, this single expansion could dramatically and irreversibly alter Oahu’s North Shore forever. Those thousands of tourists expecting to see the Hawaii of their dreams will instead discover that, like a dream, it has receded into imagination."
Mahalo to Waimea Falls Grill for donating a portion of their earnings from the Mothers' Day Brunch at Waimea Valley to Keep the North Shore Country. - 05/14/07
"Is Turtle Bay's Expansion Good for the North Shore?" asks Hawaii Business Magazine.
Ralph Makaiau provides the company line and Choon James responds for Defend Oahu Coalition in the Spin Zone section of the current issue of Hawaii Business Magazine. - 05/14/07
Turtle Bay Debt Softens
Standard and Poor's Leveraged Commentary & Data (LCD) website reports that "TurtleBay Resort term debt softened this week after lenders heard that cash was insufficient to meet an interest payment due at the end of June."
The resort needs to refinance a first mortgage of $275 million and a second mortgage of $125 million that was originally borrowed in 2005.
"According to LCD, "The new situation was in contrast to a lender call a few months ago, when management reassured investors that the situation was fine, with the property on the auction block.
"The company has struggled with lawsuits and controversy about environmental impact and potential unwanted effects of a planned expansion of the resort." - 05/11/07
Polo in Paradise Fundraiser
Opening day of the the 2007 North Shore Polo Season was dedicated as a fundraising event for Keep the North Shore Country. After two polo matches, the Saloon Pilots entertained the crowd into the early evening. Besides t-shirt, bracelets and sticker sales, the bottom line was helped by delicious chicken and beef tacos, and flan, prepared by Just Tacos of Honolulu.
Defend Oahu Coalition sold many of their poplular, green Keep the Country Country t-shirts. In fact, the green team in the second game wore these shirts to help remind everyone about our efforts.
Thanks to Mike Dailey and the Hawaii Polo Club for their support and best wishes to a successful season. Enjoy the polo matches, the beach and, often, an after-game concert every Sunday though September. Phone 637-8401 for information. - 05/07/07 Show Your Support with a Bracelet
Keep the North Shore Country Bracelets are now available for people to proudly display their support. Buy one for yourself or a dozen to pass out to your friends. They are cheaper by the dozen. - 05/07/07
World Professional Surfers Support Keeping the Country Country
Pancho Sullivan, one of only 45 top-level surfers on the elite World Championship Tour, has written an article about the Turtle Bay Resort Expansion so that surfers around the world can understand what is at stake on our pristine North Shore. He encourages surfers from around the globe to take a moment and voice their concerns.
Hawaii State Body Surfing Association Supports KNSC
Thanks go to HSBA for their support and for creating a webpage to support our efforts. - 04/14/07
Legislative Resolutions on Expansion Impacts
The 2007 Legislature passed several resolutions that would study the potential impacts of the proposed Turtel Bay Resort expansion.
HCR 194 would convene joint hearings of the House and Senate Labor Committees to consider the likely impacts that thousands of new employees would bring to the rural North Shore communty that has scarce housing, an overloaded roadway and little unemployment.
HR 153 would convene a hearing by the House Transportation Committee on the likely impacts an expansion would have on the state highway. The State Department of Transportation and City and County Department of Planning and Permitting would be invited to participate.
SR 107 would create a special task force to study the likely impacts an expansion would have on the state highway and what mitigation might be possible or necessary.
Supplemental EIS Bill Deferred to Next Year
SB 642 clarifies the law relating to supplemental environmental impact statements. It passed out of the Senate and advanced through the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee before stalling in Representative Ken Ito's Water, Land, Ocean Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee. We will continue to support its passage in the next legislative session where it will only need to pass out of two House committees, WLH and JUD. - 04/14/07 Koolauloa Cultural Assessment Bill Deferred
SB851 would require a cultural assessment and recommend a minimum shoreline setback of 750 feet for any development in the Koolauloa District, which stretches from Kahaluu to Waimea Bay. This bill passed out of the Senate, but was not scheduled for hearing in the House Water, Land, Ocean Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee. Iwi kupuna, or ancestral burials, are sacred and should be respected by everyone. It is likely that additional legislation on this important issue will be introduced next year. - 04/14/07 Kuilima Still Looking for Partners and / or Buyers
According to an article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin, Kuilima Resort Company is close to an agreement with Starwood Hotels on "a portion of the Turtle Bay Resort." The most telling quote for many readers, however, is found in the final paragraph:
"Big Island developer Brian Anderson, whose company, Anekona LLC, owns the Ilikai hotel in Waikiki, said, "There's too much opposition -- they're furious, and I ain't going to touch that."
Beach Rally Draws Attention to Kuilima's Lack of Concern for `Iwi
Approximately 200 people participated in a march and beach rally to protest Kuilima Resort Company's lack of concern for `iwi kupuna (Hawaiian burials) in their plans to expand the Turtle Bay Resort. Click here for video, photos and the full report. - 03/19/07 The Appeal Has Been Scheduled
The briefing schedule is now in place for our appeal of the lower court's rulings on summary judgment for Kuillima Resort Company and against our motion for summary judgment. The briefs will likely take a couple months to file. It is not known at this time if there will be oral briefs or when the appeals judges may rule. - 03/19/07
City Council Approves Deadline Resolution
Resolution 06-366, Requesting the Department of Planning and Permitting to establish appropriate deadlines for project commencement and completion as conditions in unilateral agreements relating to significant zone changes, was approved by the City Council, 1/24/06. Governor Repeats Call to Reduce Land Development Need
"(W)e have to change our economy from one based on land development, to one fueled by innovation and the new ideas generated by our universities and a highly-trained workforce.
Some think it is unrealistic to change our decades-long reliance on land development as the foundation of our economy.
Some think it is easier to keep doing what we have been doing.
They think it is too hard to change.
But, hard or not...change will happen." - 01/23/07
Hawaiian Burials Group Seeks Development Moratorium
"Friends of the Burials Protection Program today called on Gov. Linda Lingle's administration to impose a moratorium on all land development until the state resolves concerns tied to Native Hawaiian burial sites.
Hundreds of burial remains are being improperly stored when they should be reinterred, according to the group, which also contends that the state Historic Preservation Division is severely understaffed and failing to meet its mission to protect Native Hawaiian burials." From the Honolulu Advertiser. - 01/22/07 Updated article: Handling of Burial Remains Criticized -01/23/07
When is Land Under-developed?
Cynthia Oi, writing in her Honolulu Star Bulletin column, Under the Sun, makes some poignant observations about land development in "Money Measures in Land Conflicts."
She notes that "Land development, too much or too little, lies in the eye of the beholder, and in the islands, it is the most significant of issues, provoking more conflict than any other."
and concludes "There is value in sustaining parts of Hawaii different from the rest of the world. There should be spaces set aside for people content to live with enough, in balance with what the land and sea provide. There should be places left untouched as much for their beauty and as for the vitality harbored in unburdened, underdeveloped ground." -01/22/07 The Appeal is Filed
The recent court rulings in favor of Kuilima Resort Company and against Keep the North Shore Country and Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, were appealed to the Supreme Court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals of the State of Hawaii on January 8, 2007.
A key state official is warning the Turtle Bay Resort to drastically revise its plan to build up to five new hotels or it could face delays and other issues because of the strong chance that human remains will be found at the site.
A lawyer for the resort's owners, Kuilima Corp., responded that the project's financing could be jeopardized if the state doesn't back off.
An October letter to the developer from State Historic Preservation Division administrator Melanie Chinen states: "There is a high probability that one or more of the proposed hotels is located in an area within which numerous (as yet undiscovered) subsurface burials are located."
Chinen recommends that Kuilima do more testing in the area or "revisit and revise" its master plan to avoid the burial areas. She further suggests that the project be set back about another 500 to 650 feet from the shoreline than planned.
Kuilima submitted an archeological mitigation plan and then revoked it when the State recommended the master plan be reworked. According the to Honolulu Advertiser, Kuilima does not intend to change its master plan and is under no obligation to do so, (Kuilima attorney Terry) O'Toole said. "All of the contingencies related to inadvertent burials are ones we're just going to have to deal with going forward," he said.
The public still awaits the first sign of a concerned developer who listens to community concerns and truly wants to Keep the Country Country. When will Kuilima heed the will of the public? Read the whole article from the Honolulu Advertiser. - 01/14/07 Howard Dicus's PBN Commentary
"You can forgive community opponents for their jaundiced view that any environemental impact statement that's old enough to drink needs to be revisited."
It is a good read. - 01/13/07
Who Would Fill the Thousands of Promised Jobs?
One of the most consistent arguments made by Kuilima Resort Company in support of their expansion plans is the need for jobs. By most accounts, our state is fully employed, which means that there are more job vacancies than employees to fill them. Will the resort have to look overseas and import workers to fill thousands of new jobs? How would that be good for Oahu residents?
“The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii arranged with the U.S. Labor Department to bring up to 45 Filipinos here on seasonal work visas through August to help staff the hotel in the face of the nation's tightest labor market. A handful of other hotels have also inquired about the process as they are having trouble filling jobs with the state's unemployment rate at 2.1 percent.”
"Continuing to base our economy and our future on land development is foolhardy because land is finite, and because land development often causes deep rifts in our island community, a community the depends so heavily on harmony amoung our people.
These rifts will become more frequent and intense over time as the amount of developable land diminishes.
Because we have based our economy on land development for so long, because even average citizens see buying and selling real estate as the only path to financial security,and because we have somehow survived the bitter public debates over land development projects, the natural inclination for many is to keep doing what we have been doing.
But this would be a very unwise path for us to follow."
This is from the Governor's 2006 Inaugural Address. In her State of the State address in January, the Governor plans to "talk in greater detail and offer specific proposals to reposition our economy from one that creates wealth throught the buying and selling of land and one that creates wealth through innovation and new ideas." - 12/18/06
Survey: Hawaii is Run for Tourists
Most residents feel that Hawaii is run for tourists at the expense of local people and 76 percent -- the highest number to date -- do not want any more hotels built on their islands, according to the 2006 resident sentiment survey released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Fewer than half of Hawaii's residents feel that tourism makes the overall quality of life better for them and that it is primarily good for their families, although 51 percent -- compared to 36 percent last year -- agreed that the state needs more tourism jobs.
The survey, which is conducted for HTA, the state's tourism marketing arm, also asked residents about their feelings toward other types of tourism growth including the following: Fewer residents -- 52 percent compared to 79 percent in 2003 -- think that having more cruise ships stop at their home islands is good.
Significantly fewer residents feel that hotels converted into or added as time shares are good for the state.
Also showing significant decreases were residents who feel that more vacation homes in resort areas and outside resorts in agricultural subdivisions are good for Hawaii.
The survey, which polled 1,609 residents statewide, was conducted from September through November by Market Trends Pacific Inc. and John M. Knox & Associates Inc.
The survey's bottom line was that while Hawaii residents understand the economic benefits of tourism, 37 percent believe that local government and the industry have not done enough to balance such benefits with problems caused by rapid growth, according to Knox.
Our fundraiser at Waimea Valley on November 25th was a great success as nearly 300 people came out to raise money for the legal actions and enjoy a fabulous meal, friendship and entertainment. The band Wayfinder provided great music from the time the doors opened, through dinner and to the close of the silent auction, when John Cruz took the stage and played until the party ended. A positive energy filled the pavilion throughout the night and was strenghtened by comments from our legal team. With that kind of enthusiasm, it should not be difficult to do similar events again and again. It is clear that we gain strength as every day passes. - 12/18/06
Keep da Country Country Anthem
Pat Caldwell has written a clever song about how preserving open space is in the interest of all. "Do what's right. Keep da Country Country is Everyone's Fight!" -11/25/06 Listen to it here.
Kuilima has bridges to build with residents
The Honolulu Advertiser wrote an editorial this morning about the need for Kuilima Resort Company to seriously involve the community. It concludes with:
"If Kuilima is genuine in efforts to bridge the gap with the community, the company needs to make all its commitments legally binding, even those not covered by the unilateral agreement. The company also needs to follow through on giving residents access to information; a fledgling Web site (kuilimainfo.com) is still in building stages.
The North Shore, and O'ahu at large, deserves to know what the community is being asked to bear."
KNSC, the Sierra Club, and many on O`ahu are disappointed with the ruling of the Court. It appears that the Court failed to take into account many of the community’s arguments regarding the need for a public review process where the passage of so much time leads to new and different impacts requiring consideration and evaluation. Because the Court’s ruling sets a precedent that locks the public out of the planning process when new significant impacts are unconsidered, KNSC and the Sierra Club are carefully considering their options for appeal.
Keep the North Shore Country will review all available options, including a formal appeal of the rulings handed down in Circuit Court today by the Honorable Sabrina McKenna. Judge McKenna accepted one of Kuilima Resort Company's motions to dismiss our case and denied our motion for summary judgment. More details will follow in the coming days, so check back regularly for updates.
Our work is far from finished, so the fundraising events will continue as planned. Please plan on attending the Movie Night on November 17th and our Dinner Party on November 25th. - 11/13/06
Court Asked to Rule in Favor of KNSC and Sierra Club and Marco Gonzalez Joins the Legal Team
10/26/06 - Keep the North Shore Country (KNSC) and Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter (Sierra Club), have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, requesting the Court forego a trial and require the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) to order a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) regarding the Kuilima Resort Company’s (KRC) plans for expansion.
The motion sets forth how circumstances have changed over 21 years, as well as the environmental impacts not previously studied in the original EIS.It also includes expert testimony in support of the very obvious conclusion that an SEIS should be required.Indeed, this is the classic case in which such a study is necessary.
On May 19, 2006, KNSC, a local grassroots organization, sued the City and County ofHonolulu, Director of Planning and Permitting Henry Eng, and Kuilima Resort Company to require an SEIS for KRC’s Expansion Project at KawelaBay and Turtle Bay Resort. On June 7, 2006, the Sierra Club formally joined the legal action.
KNSC recently expanded its impressive legal team to include Marco Gonzalez of Coast Law Group, a leading environmental firm in California.Marco has successfully negotiated and litigated complex disputes on behalf of numerous non-profit environmental organizations and community groups. He joins Bill Hunt and Laura Couch at Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing as lead attorneys on behalf of KNSC in this litigation.
Building their case over the past five months, KNSC and Sierra Club have compiled testimony from experts in traffic engineering, sociology, and endangered species habitat, all setting forth strong analyses supporting the necessity of an SEIS for KRC’s proposed expansion.
The hearing on this motion is scheduled before the Honorable Sabrina S. McKenna in the First Circuit Court of the State of Hawaii on Monday, November 13, 2006, at
Turtle Bay Application Needs More Openness
Here, in its entirety, is an editorial by the Honolulu Advertiser that is right on the money. - 10/17/06
North Shore residents have seen this happen before, and not too long ago: Decisions are being made on a key public issue of great community concern with very little discussion conducted in the open.
First it was the ownership of Waimea Valley that was largely debated behind closed doors. While that controversy finally ended well, with the preservation of a cultural resource, this is not how planning for the future should be conducted.
So it's frustrating to see that the city recently issued a tentative approval on the subdivision application for the Turtle Bay resort expansion with so little opportunity for public comment.
City officials underscore that the approval is not final and that planners were legally bound to take some action by Oct. 26. Meanwhile, lawyers have urged the City Council to table all public discussions of the project because of a pending lawsuit challenging the validity of an environmental impact statement issued more than 20 years ago.
All of this may be legally sound, strictly speaking, but residents are left with the galling realization that they have no audience before their elected city officials.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann reports that he has met with developers Kuilima Resort Co. and is "encouraged" by its openness to suggestions. That's fine, but the rest of us would like to see a little of that openness, too.
If some measure of expansion at Turtle Bay proceeds, as it undoubtedly will, it needs to be based on a process with transparency. Kuilima and the city may not be able to sit down with the litigants in a pending lawsuit, but the virtual shutdown of the entire conversation seems pointless, especially as the permitting process moves along without constraint.
Tentative Subdivision Approval Does Not Affect the Legal Proceedings
The news broke today that the Department of Planning and Permitting issued Tentative Subdivision Approval to Kuilima Resort Company on September 29, 2006. The developer now has one year to fulfill the remaining conditions, including getting the State Department of Transportation to confirm that they have no objections to the plan.
This approval does not affect the legal efforts by Keep the North Shore Country to compel the DPP to order a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The Courts will have the final say on whether or not a Supplemental EIS will be required. Please send a donation to support our legal efforts.
Intuitively, logically, ethically and responsibly, everyone knows that a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) should be prepared before the developers at Turtle Bay Resort are allowed to proceed.We believe the courts will add “legally” to this list of reasons.
According to Kuilima Resort Company, the folks who want to expand Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s NorthShore from 500 to 4000 hotel and condo units, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) completed in 1985 is as valid today as it may have been 21 years ago.
Inconveniently for the developers, virtually nobody has come out in support of the project as proposed, while the list of opponents is overwhelming.
Read the rest of the essay here or here. - 10/10/06
Petition of 5000 Signatures Delivered to the Mayor's Office
Defend Oahu Coalition recently brought more than 50 people and a petition containing 5000 signatures to Honolulu Hale and the Mayor's Office to protest the expansion plans at Turtle Bay. While at least two television news teams covered the event, both major newspapers failed to report on it. Curious, isn't it? The petition says:
"As a resident of Oahu, I am concerned about the proposed expansion of Turtle Bay Resort. This project was designed and approved for conditions that existed twenty years ago. Times, conditions and communiy needs have changed. I am concerned that another development on the North Shore would be detrimental to the entire island - taking away valuable recreational and cultural space as well as exacerbating problems such as traffic, waste management and affordable housing."
Defend Oahu Coalition organized a rally outside of Turtle Bay Resort on Labor Day, September 4, 2006, to remind the residents and politicians of Oahu that there is virtually no support for the proposed expansion. - 9/5/06
Choon James, in a recent article for the North Shore News, draws some alarming parallels between the extremely built up island nation of Singapore and Oahu. Here are some of the key paragraphs.
This little island, smaller than Oahu, has grown to about four million people. This does NOT include the thousands of maids and laborers from Java, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.
Thirty years ago, Singapore was where Oahu is today. SIngapore has lost much of its sense of place.... I did not see a bird the whole time I was there. It has indeed become a very crowded concrete jungle.
When does a little island become too crowded and loses its natural resources and quality of life?
More than 500 people enjoyed the new Jack McCoy surfing film, "Free as a Dog," presented by Billabong and billed as "An Evening to Keep the North Shore Country." We greatly appreciate all of the hard work put into this event and for the fundraising provided to Keep the North Shore Country. Special thanks go to Keoni Watson and Tami Knappman. Click here for details. - 9/5/06
Turtle Bay Resort Resists Call to Supplement its 21-year old Environmental Impact Statement
TURTLE BAY Resort recently settled a multiyear labor dispute with the Local 5 Hotel Workers Union and quickly proclaimed a new era of openness. The CEO of Kuilima Resort Co. "wants to put a friendlier face on the project." Why, then, will the developer not accept the community's earnest call for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement?
We would love to see a kinder, gentler neighbor, but we are not holding our breath for any substantive changes regarding the plan to expand Turtle Bay Resort from 500 to 4,000 hotel and condo units. We suspect the developer is more interested in ramping up its public relations machine than it is interested in listening to the community. Indeed, we expect it to conduct surveys and focus groups in search of some nebulous claim of support for its massive expansion plans.
Don't Let Development Kill North Shore Paradise From the Star Bulletin's Gathering Place:
As an Australian who has grown up on the world-renowned Gold Coast, I have seen firsthand what rampant development and pro-developer local authorities can do to devastate a beautiful area, stretch infrastructure to the breaking point and, despite all precautions and attempts at protection, environmentally wreck an area and burden, not benefit, local residents with poorly controlled growth.
Last week's contract settlement between resort managers and the hotel workers union, UNITE HERE Local 5, was punctuated by executives' cheerful pronouncements about an "era of openness between us and the employees and the community."
It would have been better had the developers opted to update its two-decades-old study and to revisit the terms of its agreement with the community — without a lawsuit forcing the issue.
In this new spirit of cooperation, it would be wise to find a settlement that similarly would bring an end to the courtroom dispute as well.
Critics have raised legitimate concerns about the project's potential effects on transportation, public works and the environment. Reopening the agreement to discussion would be a more sensible investment of time than a prolonged legal battle.
We agree. Order the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement! - 7/29/06
The Public Is Leading and Politicians are Following Former Governor Arioshi writes in HawaiiBusiness.com:
"It becomes clearer with each passing month that we must turn from ad hoc skirmishing to a much deeper assessment of how we are using our limited land space. The makeshift compromise for the Big Island’s Hokulia development comes to mind. The proposal to build five hotels at Turtle Bay is a prime example, as I attempted to point out last month. So is the announced plan to transform Waiawa into something bigger than Kapolei — a plan that, like Turtle Bay, is based on long-standing zoning developed for other circumstances.
"To frame a new land-use initiative, we must ask, “Where are we on the curve of change? Where do we want to go?”
"Aside from donning green bumper stickers that read: "Keep the North Shore COUNTRY" and "Keep the Country COUNTRY" on every vehicle in sight, residents are calling, writing, faxing and emailing their government officials and pleading for re-assessment of the impact this development would have on the already fragile Hawaiian environment." - June 27, 2006
Here is an article in the Honolulu Advertiser. - June 24, 2006 Turtle Bay For Sale, Close to Settling Contract
According to Pacific Business News,Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles has let it be known in investment circles that the oceanfront hotel and surrounding property is for sale or available for an equity partnership with a company that would develop the area. On PBN Fridays, Howard Dicus mentioned that Michael Dell of Dell Computers is a possible partner. Read the PBN Article. - June 23, 2006 Turtle Bay Loans See Increased Volatility Amid Expansion Controvery
DebtWire, an investment analysis and research firm, recently reported to its subscriber base on the fluctuating value of the $375,000,000 loans taken by Turtle Bay Resort last year. According to an attorney for the developers, "this is all happening because the union got the community upset." Incredibly, the developer and its attorneys are still in denial about the public's overwhelming support for a supplemental environmental impact statement. - June 22, 2006 Read the full text.
Bumper Stickers Now Available! - June 20, 2006
Click here to buy Stickers, T-shirts and Wristbands. If you have not done so already, it is very quick and easy to register as a Supporter. - rev. 06/18/07
Sierra Club Joins the Lawsuit - June 8, 2006
The First Amended Complaint, filed June 7, 2006 in the First Circuit Court of the State of Hawai`i, names the Sierra Club, Hawai`i Chapter as a co-plaintiff in the litigation. Read the Media Release here. Governors Lingle and Arioshi each Comment on the Turtle Bay Expansion Plans. Both major political parties wheigh in. - June 2, 2006
With supporting comments from Governor Linda Lingle, the Hawaii Republican Party on Sunday passed a resolution asking the City and County of Honolulu to thoroughly review the application for subdivision approval at Kawela/Turtle Bays by Kuilima Development Company. The Democratic Party passed a similar resolution on the same day.
The litigation stems from the massive development planned for Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of O`ahu.The proposed project was initially approved in 1986 and provides that the resort, now consisting of just under 500 hotel rooms, will expand to eight times that size to approximately 4000 total hotel and condominium units.
We would like to settle this lawsuit immediately if the Department of Planning and Permitting would agree to require a supplemental EIS wihtin the next 30 days. We appreciate your continued support and concern for the North Shore, and hope that you can assist us in this matter.