New & Noteworthy: Kahala Update, Frances Officer

posted in: November 2018 | 0

City Steps In: The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Kahala Hotel & Resort recently tried to win authorization from the Board of Land and Natural Resources for the placement and/ or storage of various items — including revenue-generating cabanas, lounge chairs, and occasional restaurant seating —within a revocable permit area that has long been restricted to recreational and maintenance uses.

A contested case hearing request by David Kimo Frankel halted board action on the matter on September 14, but not before the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and members of the public raised the point that in addition to Land Board approval, the resort also needed a Special Management Area use permit and/or a shoreline setback variance from the City & County of Honolulu for its current and proposed uses of the parcel.

On October 9, the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) weighed in: “The cabana tents, clamshell loungers, tables, chairs, and beach chairs are within the Special Management Area (SMA) and are considered development, pursuant to section 25-1.3, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu. Without a SMA permit, they are not allowed … Please remove them by November 1, 2018, or [DPP] will issue a Notice of Violation,” wrote acting DPP director Kathy Sokugawa in a letter to the hotel’s attorneys, Jennifer Lim and Jon Yamamura.

She noted that in 1996, the City Council required the hotel to maintain public shoreline access to and along the beach, as a condition of an SMA permit for a number of hotel renovations. At that time, the city questioned the legality of the tables, chairs, and recreational equipment the resort had placed on the state parcel, but “[u]nfortunately, no further action was taken,” Sokugawa wrote.

“The 10 cabana tents occupy fixed locations … and their presence could certainly affect shoreline processes during extreme tides, high wave events, or if the shoreline were to recede sufficiently,” she wrote. While the loungers, chairs and other portable elements did not require a shoreline setback variance, “commercial activity within the shoreline setback and within the SMA is still subject to approval,” she added.

Should the resort want to keep the cabana tents (which rent for $200 a day) and the concrete stone pavers beneath them in place, Sokugawa stated that a shoreline setback variance, an environmental assessment, a new or modified SMA permit, and a building permit would be required.

Frances Officer: From 1990 until just a few days ago, Fran was the person who made Environment Hawai‘i look good. We went from floppy disks to modem- to-modem transfer of files, and finally to emails. She and her husband, Tim, partners in For Color Publishing, went from photomechanical reproduction, replete with chemical baths, to electronic delivery systems and PDFs. We would send her chop-suey layouts, but she managed to make sense of them. We would do last-minute revisions of articles that were required as a result of our own carelessness, and she would uncomplainingly make the needed changes. She ran interference with us with the printer and always made sure to ask about our dogs.

Late last month, Fran suffered a stroke and gently passed days later. We extend our heartfelt aloha to her husband, Tim, and her sisters.

Fran was caring, generous, competent, and efficient. We will miss her so very much.

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