State board sides with boaters
The state board also opposes proposed rules for Kewalo Basin
The state Small Business Regulatory Review Board has sided with boaters at Kewalo Basin by opposing new rules proposed by the state Hawaii Community Development Authority.
Having reviewed the proposed rules at its Aug. 15 meeting, the board recommended last week that they not be signed by the governor. The vote was unanimous.
"We felt the business impact statement wasn't correct," said board chair Lynne Woods. "We felt the financial impact on the current users was really on top of what they had already paid. In other words, they were the victims of two state agencies not working together."
The slip tenants were caught between the two agencies, she said, given that HCDA has had possession of the harbor since 1990 while the state Department of Transportation was running it, but no money was reinvested into infrastructure. This was not the fault of the boaters, she said.
A board memorandum, dated Aug. 23, and sent to HCDA interim director Teney Takahashi from Woods, bodes well for the boaters, who have organized themselves as Kewalo Ocean Activities, or KOA.
The board is advisory, but its members are appointed by the governor.
Earlier this month, KOA and Kahala Catamarans Inc., filed suit against directors of the two state agencies to stop the expected transfer of management to HCDA in September.
Takahashi declined to comment due to the pending lawsuit.
The board also cited the following as the basis for their decision:
» Concerns over the permit, which the board said was in the form a multi-page lease document that appeared to be "poorly thought-out and presented." A one-year lease would make it difficult for a business to obtain financing.
» Concerns about dividing management of the state's harbors between different departments. HCDA is also ill-equipped to manage a harbor.
» Concerns that HCDA would open Kewalo to recreational users, which could be a safety hazard. To open up the harbor to pleasure craft owned by residents of newly developed condos would be a misuse of power, the board said.
"Small business should not be solely responsible for the cost of economic development," said the letter. "They have paid fees and taxes to use extremely deteriorated infrastructure over many years and it concerns this board that they would have to pay for all of the improvement and higher taxes upon completion."