Kona developer to appeal
court order halting project

KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii >> Kona luxury residential project developer 1250 Oceanside Partners will appeal a Circuit Court decision that bans work on the project until the company obtains urban classification for the land, the company announced.

Judge Ronald Ibarra ordered work on the 1,550-acre Hokulia project halted Tuesday, saying it is an urban project that is not permitted under the current agricultural classification of the land.

The company must obtain reclassification by the state Land Use Commission, the judge ordered in his 31-page ruling.

Oceanside has spent $300 million preparing 730 1-acre house lots, the company said. The lots will sell for about $1 million each.

"The extremely negative consequences of this ruling are being watched closely by other businesses seeking to invest in Hawaii," said a company statement, which added that the company followed the letter and spirit of the law.

Ibarra's ruling "will have a chilling effect on future investment in Hawaii," the company said.

Attorney Robert Kim, who represents Hokulia opponent Walter "Jack" Kelly and others, said the statement that Oceanside followed the law is "complete fantasy."

"Other companies do not act like this as stewards of the land," Kim said.

Moses Haia, Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorney for the Protect Keopuka Ohana, said, "The only business that will be chilled by Judge Ibarra's decision are those businesses who, like Oceanside, chose to seek the path of least resistance over the prudent one."

The company employs 170 people, and 140 others are employed by subcontractors on the project, the company said.

"Additionally, Hokulia was projected to generate in excess of $100 million in direct and indirect revenue for the Big Island in 2004," the company said. Ibarra's ruling "creates uncertainty" about those benefits, the company said.

Haia said Oceanside implies that the plaintiffs are the cause of the loss of jobs.

"Oceanside itself is to blame," he said.


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