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Friday, June 9, 2000

demand hearing to
contest Hanauma
face lift

The city is asking the land
board to disqualify an East
Honolulu coalition

By Harold Morse


Whether a contested case hearing takes place on the city's plans for Hanauma Bay may take two weeks or more to decide.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources heard nearly two hours of testimony yesterday by petitioners who say they have the standing to make the hearing necessary.

Chairman Timothy Johns said the board would give the petitioners' attorney, Jack Schweigert, seven days to file a reply memorandum to the city's motion to disqualify one petitioner, the East Honolulu Community Coalition.

The city then will have another seven days to respond, and the board likely will make its decision after that, Johns said.

The room was jammed when the hearing began.

Much testimony on the proposed $10.6 million project was devoted to Hawaiian spiritual kinship with Hanauma Bay.

Petitioner Roy Benham said he has spiritual ties to the Koko Head area. "I always pay homage to that area in my way, in the only way I know," he said.

"What is it about this project that interferes with this activity?" asked city Deputy Corporation Counsel Gary Takeuchi.

Benham said that a large building for education and other uses proposed on the high ground at Hanauma Bay would disturb what Hawaiian gods created there. "I say it is my responsibility to protect what the gods have made. ...

"A building of that size I feel would disturb the tranquility of the area."

"How would that injure your ability to pay respects to the gods?" asked board member Lynn McCrory.

"I would be uncomfortable as long as they're uncomfortable," Benham said. "The buildings they currently have there fit our Hawaiian land."

The proposed large building would not, he said.

David Washino represented the East Honolulu Community Coalition, the petitioner the city says should not be party to a possible contested case hearing. This coalition did not meet a requirement to put its request in writing within 10 days after making an oral request for the hearing, the city said.

But Washino was permitted to testify. Evidence he presented may be stricken if the board grants the city motion.

The coalition has taken stands on other issues affecting East Honolulu in seeking to preserve environmental integrity, Washino said.

Coalition concerns were overlooked and not addressed in project planning, he said.

Beverly J. "Nana" Palenapa, the third petitioner, also objected to the size of the building.

E-mail to City Desk

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