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Thursday, July 20, 2000



Aina Haina wedding
business plan
topic of hearing

Testimony will be limited
to expected traffic impact
and community benefits

By Ian Lind
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

The city is again seeking public comment on a controversial proposal to allow a commercial wedding business at Aina Haina's historic Bayer Estate.

The Department of Planning and Permitting has scheduled a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Human Resources conference room in the City Hall annex at 550 S. King St.

Testimony will be limited to potential traffic impacts and expected community benefits of the proposed wedding business, according to hearing officer Eileen Mark.

The wedding proposal by Bayer Estate LLC had been approved in August 1998, but was stalled by a pair of lawsuits filed by a longtime neighbor of the Bayer property.

The company is owned by Susan Mirikitani, and the home is leased from the family of her husband, Richard Mirikitani, brother of City Councilman Andy Mirikitani.

A January ruling by Judge Allene Suemori overturned the approval and directed the city to re-evaluate the traffic and community impact issues.

Suemori's ruling has been appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court, but the city is proceeding with the court-ordered review while the appeal is pending.

Suemori ruled that there was insufficient information about the impact of increased traffic on the surrounding neighborhood. She directed the city to reassess the cumulative effect of limousines and other vehicles taking wedding guests to and from the Bayer home, located along a busy stretch of Kalanianaole Highway.

Vehicles coming to the estate would be in addition to those arriving for weddings at the Calvary-by-the-Sea Church next door, and at a wedding business being operated by City Councilman John Henry Felix at another oceanfront home located nearby.

Suemori also questioned a city requirement that Bayer Estate donate a share of its annual profits to nonprofit groups to further historic preservation as a way to benefit the community.

Such donations "will only encourage and support the proliferation of commercial enterprises in residential areas, which is specifically opposed in this case," Suemori ruled.

But the judge said she wasn't taking a position on whether the proposal should be approved by city planners.

Public testimony may be presented orally or in writing at tomorrow's hearing. Written testimony may also be sent by fax, at 527-6743, but must be received prior to the hearing.

Further assistance is available from the Land Use Approvals Branch at 527-5046, according to the public hearing notice.



E-mail to City Desk


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