Hokulia deal done, approval imminent
KAILUA-KONA » A tentative settlement in the Hokulia lawsuit has already been reached, a state Supreme Court document confirms.
Previous documents had suggested only a possible settlement.
With major questions apparently decided, approval of the settlement by Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra is expected to come before the end of an 80-day timetable laid out in the high court's document yesterday.
The court announced the 80-day schedule in an order sending the case, which is on appeal, back to Ibarra.
Begun in 2000, the suit had pitted Protect Keopuka Ohana and four individuals against 1250 Oceanside Partners, developer of the 1,550-acre Hokulia luxury residential project. Hawaii County and the state are also defendants.
In 2003, Ibarra ruled that the project was an urban use of agricultural land and therefore illegal.
While the case has been on appeal, the Legislature has been considering bills that would resolve Ibarra's ban on continuing construction while also laying out guidelines for what kinds of homes are permitted on agricultural lands.
The parties repeatedly have declined to comment on the settlement, and yesterday's Supreme Court document discloses no details.
Activity in the case has been rapid-fire since last week. On March 1, the Hawaii County Council discussed a settlement in a closed-door meeting requested just hours earlier by county attorney Lincoln Ashida.
The next day, Ibarra signed an order indicating his "inclination" to set aside his 2003 and 2004 rulings against Oceanside, except for an issue regarding storm water runoff from Hokulia polluting the ocean in 2000.
All the attorneys in the case, including Robert Triantos for Oceanside, Robert Kim for the plaintiffs, Lincoln Ashida for Hawaii County, and Attorney General Mark Bennett for the state, signed the order.
On Friday, the documents were filed in Circuit Court and the Supreme Court.