NEW & NOTEWORTHY: Kaua`i Springs, Iopa Seawall, TMT

posted in: June 2017 | 0

Kaua`i Springs Order: The Public Utilities Commission has rejected the request from a Kaua`i water bottler that it determine the bottler’s source of water is exempt from requirements that apply to water utilities.

The May 22 order notes that the bottler’s description of key points regarding its history and operation is at variance with the record and with statements from Grove Farm, which previously owned the Kahili Mountain Water System, source of the water, and was granted intervenor status in this case.

Generally, the PUC seems to have found Kaua`i Springs’ petition confused and inconsistent. It dismissed it without prejudice, allowing the company to refile.

“Kaua`i Springs’ request for a declaratory ruling … should, at a minimum, be updated and revised to incorporate the developments described by Grove Farm,” the PUC wrote. “In the event Kaua`i Springs chooses to re-file a petition for declaratory order, Kauai Springs shall present a clear, undisputed, and internally consistent set of relevant facts.”

(Environment Hawai`i has published several articles on the Kaua`i Springs case, including in June 2013, April 2014, and April 2017.)

The newly built seawall fronting property owned by architect Robert Iopa in the Lalakea area of Hilo.

 

Seawall Standstill: Last November and December, prominent Honolulu architect Robert Iopa took down most of a seawall he had built earlier in 2016 on land fronting his property in the Keaukaha neighborhood of Hilo. He had been required to do so by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands.

But the Hawai`i County Planning Department wanted to have not just the wall removed, but the area restored, to the extent possible, to its pre-existing conditions. In addition, it required Iopa to pay $2,500 in fines for violations of the county’s planning shoreline setback and special management area regulations. It set a deadline of April 7 for completion of the work.

On April 4, Iopa asked that the deadline be extended to May 22. That deadline passed without any visible change in the site.

According to Bethany Morrison, the planner overseeing Iopa’s compliance with terms set by the county to satisfy the violations, Iopa and the Planning Department are still working out the restoration plan and Iopa has requested another time extension.

“He’s submitted various documents, and we’ve granted another time extension,” she said. “We’re going back and forth about what should be included in the plan. … We need additional information. We’re waiting to know the scope of work.”

TMT Update: As the May 30 deadline for submittal of proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and decision and order approached in the contested case hearing over the Conservation District permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope, the volume of filings from petitioners protesting that deadline increased.

No fewer than 12 of the parties objecting to construction of the TMT near the summit of Mauna Kea filed objections to the deadline set by hearing officer Riki May Amano. The TMT and the University of Hawai`i – the applicant in this case – filed eight objections to the petitioners’ objections.

On May 23, Amano, in Minute Order 50, dispensed with them all, at times quoting the language found in some of the petitioners’ filings, such as: “There has been no ‘opportunity to inspect the transcripts or have any consultation on the processes of the transcripts if there should be any eras?’ [sic] and ‘I reserved the right to make corrections as needed to the transcript and reserve time to make; those corrections to all 44 volumes and Volumes i-vii as deem.’”

Amano recited the numerous occasions, going back to October, when she had admonished the petitioners of the need to begin work on their proposed findings of fact. “If the parties are unprepared to meet the deadlines set forth, it is not because they were not warned,” she wrote.

“To some extent, proffered arguments appear to be stream of consciousness comments; i.e., challenges to the exhibits ‘creates the potential for a due process challenge to the outcome of the contested case.’ … ‘While due process violations in this proceeding are so frequent that they have become expected, this final attack by the Hearing Officer on the ability of the Protector Interveners to participate and make their case is so blatant that a motion to recuse would be warranted, if it were not for the fact that the Hearing Officer will simply ignore such a motion.’

“All in all, movants’ asserted grounds are insufficient reasons to reconsider Minute Order No. 43. The eleven motions seeking to have Minute Order No. 43 … reconsidered … are DENIED.”

 

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