Thursday, January 21, 1999

City, temple seek end
to dispute with neighbors

By Debra Barayuga


The city and a controversial Buddhist temple in Palolo are asking a judge to put an end to the decade-old battle between neighbors and the temple.

Circuit Judge Marie Milks yesterday said she is seeking additional information from plaintiffs Life of the Land and Concerned Citizens of Palolo before she rules later.

Roger Moseley, attorney for the Korean Buddhist Dae Won Sa Temple and Abbot Dae Won Ki, said he thinks it's "fairly likely" the judge will rule in their favor.

Fred Benco, attorney for the plaintiffs, has indicated he would appeal, Moseley said.

Benco yesterday argued that the city's motion should be denied because the temple -- designed to be a "Polynesian Cultural Center-type" tourist attraction -- has violated building and zoning laws.

Benco raised for the first time the issue of an accessory building on the property used as a dormitory that illegally violated building height and zoning codes.

Lawrence Kumabe, deputy corporation counsel for the city, said the city stands by its measurements and that calculations and interpretations of the law provided by Benco are "absolutely incorrect."

Craig Shikuma, attorney for Arman Kitapci, an independent structural engineer for the temple, said there has been no evidence of conspiracy on his client's part to circumvent the laws.

The temple noted that all the alleged zoning code violations except the height of the main temple hall and the setback of the gate have been corrected.

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