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Thursday, November 2, 2000



Wedding
bells to ring in
Aina Haina

Bayer Estate gets the OK
to hold weddings on its
oceanfront property


By Ian Lind
Star-Bulletin

Commercial weddings can begin immediately at the historic Bayer residence in Aina Haina, according to a recent decision by the city.

Randall K. Fujiki, director of planning and permitting, ruled that Bayer Estate LLC, owner of the 2,490-square-foot oceanfront home, has sufficiently responded to neighbors' concerns about possible traffic problems and other community impacts, and has fulfilled all initial conditions imposed by the city.

Bayer Estate "addressed and mitigated concerns of residents in and around the Aina Haina community and demonstrated that the proposed use will not have any significant adverse impacts on surrounding uses," Fujiki concluded.

Fujiki's decision noted continuing "community opposition and disagreement," but found that further delays would not lead to resolution of the lingering disputes.

Bayer Estate owner Susan Mirikitani said wedding ceremonies could start as soon as several small renovations are completed. Her husband, Richard, is City Councilman Andy Mirikitani's brother.

"I'm still focused on trying to make my house pretty," Mirikitani said. "But frankly, a holiday wedding on the ocean would be absolutely gorgeous."

A wedding business would not normally be allowed in the residential area, but Bayer Estate has taken advantage of a provision designed to encourage the preservation of historic properties. Commercial weddings are already offered at the Calvary-by-the-Sea Lutheran Church, immediately next door to the Bayer property.

Fujiki's ruling confirms a 1998 decision by his predecessor, Jan Sullivan, who approved the Bayer Estate proposal despite objections by several neighbors.

Sullivan's decision was appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals and later challenged in a pair of Circuit Court lawsuits by Gregg Kashiwa, a longtime resident of the area.

In January, Judge Allene Suemori dismissed parts of Kashiwa's appeal, but directed the city to take another look at possible traffic problems, and to re-evaluate conditions intended to provide "community benefits" to the East Oahu community.

Suemori's decisions have been appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court. Those appeals are pending.

Kashiwa could not be reached for comment, but stated in a recent legal document: "While the preservation of historic homes is a worthy cause, the destruction of established residential and historic neighborhoods in which the houses sit is not."

Kashiwa has already filed another challenge to Fujiki's latest decision, which drew criticism from Susan Mirikitani.

"People are entitled to have their say, but I think this has almost become an abusive use of the system," she said.



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