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Zoo fence art, fairs at Kapiolani allowed


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sales of artwork along the Honolulu Zoo fence and handmade items at craft fairs in Kapiolani Park are allowed under the public trust that established the park, according to a report of a court-appointed master.

The report responds to a request for instructions from the members of the City Council, also trustees of the park. The Council members asked for the court's guidance under pressure from the Kapiolani Park Preservation Society, which deems the sale of arts and crafts commercial activity not allowed by the trust.

The master submitted his report last month to the state Probate Court. The probate judge has yet to set a deadline for responses or schedule a hearing.

The report says the sales are incident to, not the sole function of, exhibitions, which the trust explicitly allows. It also says there is no admission fee to attend the exhibitions; the arts and crafts are not mass-produced items; and the permits and licenses for the exhibitions are short-term, temporary arrangements that do not unreasonably interfere with other park uses or users.

Sale of mass-produced items, including food stuffs and souvenirs, are allowed at craft fairs that are part of cultural festivals if the items have a cultural link, the report said.

Council Chairman Todd Apo agrees with the report. He said the art fence and craft fairs pose no problems or inconvenience “;as long as the city keeps these kinds of events at the current levels.”;

The city says there are craft fairs and cultural festivals in Kapiolani Park 75 days of the year. But the report points out the fairs and festivals are on weekends and holidays—more than two-thirds of the weekends in a year.

“;This load may be at or near the tolerances of the spectrum above where an otherwise permissible activity becomes abusive,”; the report says.

Preservation Society President Alethea Rebman said the schedule is already at that level.

“;It is park, not a fairground,”; she said.

Rebman says the Council needs to adopt special rules for Kapiolani Park different from those for the other city parks.

The preservation society is not a party to the current proceedings. The state Attorney General is representing the interests of the public, including the preservation society.

Previous court rulings regarding the Kapiolani Park Trust blocked the city from opening a Burger King concession in the Honolulu Zoo, shut down the golf driving range concession and upheld the park's metered parking and Honolulu Zoo admission fee.