Turtle Bay foes appeal EIS ruling
Opponents of expansion at Turtle Bay urged a state appellate court yesterday to require a new environmental study on a proposed massive development on Oahu's North Shore.
Keep the North Shore Country and the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter appealed to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals in their lawsuit against Kuilima Resort Co., which has plans to develop up to 3,500 hotel and condominium units on one of Oahu's last remaining rural coasts.
The appeal comes as Gov. Linda Lingle is seeking a way for the state to acquire the 850-acre resort from Kuilima's parent company, Oaktree Capital Management LP, which is facing foreclosure on $283 million in loan repayments.
The grass-root organizations had sued to force the City and County of Honolulu to order a supplemental environmental impact statement for a Turtle Bay subdivision application, which was tentatively approved in September 2006. A Circuit Court judge dismissed the lawsuit in November 2006.
Kuilima has until Sept. 29 to satisfy the requirements for subdivision approval.
The plaintiffs argue that traffic congestion and issues such as endangered monk seals on the property have emerged since the original EIS was completed in 1985 and the project was approved in 1986. A string of different owners never was able to bring the project to fruition because of financial problems.
Kuilima argues that its right to push ahead with the expansion remains.
"There is not a shelf life to an EIS," said Sharon Lovejoy, Kuilima's attorney.
The three-judge appeals court panel -- Craig Nakamura, Corinne Watanabe and Daniel Foley -- took the case under advisement yesterday, but didn't specify when a decision would be issued.
If the ruling isn't favorable, the groups will likely appeal the case to the Hawaii Supreme Court, plaintiffs' attorney Laura Couch said.