Group sues over planned hotel development at Turtle Bay
The suit is similar to one by hotel workers union Local 5
Less than two months after Kuilima Resort Co. won a legal battle against opponents of its expansion plans for Turtle Bay Resort, a second group has filed another lawsuit with much the same goals.
Keep the North Shore Country, a nonprofit organization, filed a civil lawsuit yesterday against the city, its director of planning and permitting and Kuilima Resort.
At issue is a massive development planned for Turtle Bay Resort, which will add 3,500 more hotel and condominium units to an otherwise rural area stretching from Kawela Bay to Kahuku Point. Although the area's master plan for development was approved in 1986, it never came to fruition because of financial problems.
"The county must do what is responsible for its citizens and really consider whether the community, infrastructure and environment can even survive this massive project intended by KRC," said Doug Cole, a lifelong resident of the North Shore and a director of Keep the North Shore Country.
Cole is the son of North Shore activist Peter Cole, who protested Turtle Bay's expansion plans in the 1980s, when the original environmental impact statement for the Kawela Bay project was approved.
Contentious issues have resurfaced in the community since Turtle Bay owner Oaktree Capital, which has spent $60 million upgrading the hotel, announced its intention earlier this year to move forward on the decades-old development plan.
In February, Unite Here Local 5, the hotel workers union, filed a civil suit seeking an injunction to stop the project and requesting that the court order Kuilima Resort to perform a more current environmental impact statement. That litigation is still pending, but in April the court let the permitting process continue in the meantime.
The newest suit is asking for essentially the same thing as the union lawsuit.
The city's Corporation Counsel Department, which represents the city, did not return a call yesterday from the Star-Bulletin.
Kuilima Resort reiterated in a statement yesterday in response to the newest suit that the scope of its project has not changed since it was approved and that it has earned a community following.
"Economic opportunity and growth was the motivation for the effort by hundreds of North Shore residents who worked for years to achieve the promise of an employment center at Turtle Bay," the company said. "Those residents realized that the community would need something to replace the plantation, which had for so long sustained the local community. The recent efforts by the Keep the North Shore Country group to undo all that work will be resisted."
Keep the North Shore Country is asking a judge to require Kuilima Resort to perform a supplemental environmental impact statement. It also seeks an injunction against further ground work or construction at the resort until a supplemental impact statement is completed. The nonprofit, whose suit is being funded by private donations, also has requested that the defendants pay attorneys' fees and costs.