Supreme Court Reverses Kyo-ya Permit for New Tower

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The Hawai`i Supreme Court has  reversed the decision of the City and County of Honolulu planning director that would have let the Moana Surfrider Hotel, owned by Kyo-ya, replace its eight-story Diamond Head Tower with a 26-story, 308-foot-high hotel and residential tower, nearly three-fourths of which would encroach into a coastal height setback established for the Waikiki Special Design District.

The decision, published on September 23, finds no support whatsoever for the decision of the Department of Planning and Permitting director David Tanoue in 2010 to allow a variance for the proposed building. Following 75 pages in which the justices criticized his decision, that of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and that of the 1st Circuit Court, the conclusion was short and to the point: “In order for the Director to grant a variance request, the applicant must satisfy each requirement of the variance test. Here, none of the requirements were met. Accordingly, the circuit court’s judgment, the ZBA Order, and the Director’s Decision are reversed.”

Plaintiffs in the case are the Surfrider Foundation, Hawai`i’s Thousand Friends, Ka Iwi Coalition, and KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance. Representing them was attorney Linda Paul.

Here’s a link to the court’s decision: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/docs/opin_ord/sct/2015/September/SCAP-13-0005781.pdf

Environment Hawai`i reported on the case in our July 2014 edition.

Kyo-ya

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