Waikoloa Project 2.0: The proposed affordable housing project on 11.7 acres of land near the Big Island community of Waikoloa is going back to the drawing board. Two bills that would have allowed the development of commercial space, affordable housing units, and a large hardware store on the site were pulled, following the request of County Council member Tim Richards. Richards told the County Council on February 3 that he had assurances from the Planning Department that it would be working with landowner Danny Julkowski to come up with a more viable proposal for the site.
As Environment Hawaiʻi had reported previously, Julkowski purchased the site following several transactions that trace back to a former developer, Waikoloa Mauka, LLC, that seems to be the subject of an FBI investigation.
In August, the county’s Leeward Planning Commission voted to recommend denial by the full council of Julkowski’s project. At the time, Julkowski was represented by planning consultant Zendo Kern.
(For details of that meeting, see the article in the September edition of Environment Hawaiʻi.)
Kern Wins Approval: At the same council meeting where Julkowski’s project was shelved, Zendo Kern won council approval of his nomination by Mayor Mitch Roth to serve as director of the county’s Planning Department.
Kern’s nomination drew fire from multiple witnesses, who referenced his lack of formal training (he never attended college and has a high school degree after two years of home schooling) and his past work representing developers, including several whose applications were withdrawn following irregularities.
The council’s Planning Committee voted 5-4 against confirming his appointment. Yet when the County Council took up his nomination, council member Heather Kimball changed her vote, allowing Kern to win appointment by the slimmest possible margin.
Dairy Drama: Last July, the Honoka‘a Land Company (HLC), a subsidiary of a California company that channels foreigninvestors into projects that qualify them for eventual permanent U.S. residency, sued Boteilho Hawai‘i Enterprises, owner of a dairy on the northern tip of the Big Island. The lawsuit accused Boteilho Enterprises and its owner, Edward Boteilho Jr., of breaching a contract to sell the dairy. The contract, signed three years earlier, had not resulted in the transfer of the dairy. The sale had stalled after the discovery of contamination on the property.
According to Boteilho, he had offered to reduce the $2 million sale price by half. Yet he received no response. Boteilho then turned to Dutch-Hawaiian Dairy Farms. In June, Boteilho won the DOA’s approval to move forward with the sale.
Days later, HLC sued Boteilho and Dutch-Hawaiian Dairy Farms, as well as its owners. The plaintiff alleged not only breach of contract, but also tortious interference with contractual relations by Dutch-Hawaiian Dairy.
In December, 3rd Circuit Judge Robert Kim granted Boteilho’s motion for summary judgment on the breach of contract issue, agreeing that HLC was “unable to show it is ready, willing, and able” to carry out contract terms.
Attorneys for Boteilho filed a proposed “final judgment re: specific performance” with the court in January. HLC objected. The court had not issued a decision by mid-February.
(For more background on this case, see the article in the December 2020 issue of Environment Hawai‘i: “Big Plans for Foreign Investment in Dairy Operations Run Aground.”)
— Patricia Tummons