March 27, 2014

Hooray! HB 2554 has been deferred

We have great news from our friends at the Save our Kaka’ako Coalition.  Please read below for their email blast :

Horray!, HB 2554 has been deferred by the Senate Hawaiian Affairs committee. I believe it was because of strong, and at times, passionate testimony. Friends of Kewalos placed a 12 inch stack of petitions from 2006 till now, right on the table along with a 6 foot long scroll of petitions which had a major visual impact. At the end of the hearing, addressing the crowd, 3 senators spoke with conviction supporting our cause. An uproar of applause followed each Senator. This is the first sign of a change of heart from the legislators. I hope it is a sign of more good things to come.
However, the other bill SB 3122 is still alive.  It is slated to be heard by the House Finance Committee any day now.  If it does occur, we need to have a tremendous turnout with the same passionate testimony to kill it just like HB2554. If we kill it here then we can breather a little easier. However, as you know anything can happen. Please check your email for the notice of hearing and make it a point to atend in your red shirt.
Preparing for the worst, we have already started to plan a Capitol Rally on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Please save the date. We are trying to see if we can bus people in.  If anyone can help with this please contact us @ info@kewalo.org.
The online petition is up to 991 and counting. Now is the time to push it even more.  Let us surpass the 1000 mark and more!

Mahalo for all your testimonies, signing the petitions, letters to your legislators, etc. and your committment to keep KM for all the People to enjoy. We can do this!

Mahalo,
Save our Kaka ‘ako Coalition


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January 21, 2013

Here is Angela Huntemer’s Editorial in the Honolulu Star Advertiser – Turtle Bay expansion threatens endangered animals, plants

http://www.change.org/petitions/no-turtle-bay-resort-expansion-beyond-the-current-footprint?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_before_sign

www.facebook.com/TurtleBayEndangeredSpecies

Editorial in the Honolulu Star Advertizer
Turtle Bay expansion threatens endangered animals, plants

By Angela Huntemer

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 16, 2013

After careful review and consultation with biologists, I strongly contend that Turtle Bay Resort’s surveys of flora and fauna, in its draft supplemental environmental impact statement (DSEIS), are incomplete and inaccurate.

They do not address:

» The issues of animals and plants listed under the Endangered Species Act; Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, Hawaiian stilts, moorhens, coots, ducks, ohai (sesbania-tomentosa) and others.

» The presence of migratory birds such as bristle thighed curlews, golden plovers, wandering tattlers, ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, dowitchers, yellowlegs and others protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

» The presence, and sensitivity to light, of shearwaters and petrels.

The surveys also:

» Deny that the property contains or is adjacent to critical habitat.

» Did not attempt inventories of invertebrates or freshwater aquatic resources.

» Assume that Hawaiian owls and bats are not present. Best practices are to assume they are present, since their presence is documented on adjacent properties (at the First Wind project and James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge).

» Did not investigate “the fragile ecosystem” of Punahoolapa Marsh and then declared that no endangered plants were found.

» Incorrectly maintain that there are no endangered plants on the property.

The DSEIS lacks discussion of preservation and restoration of dune habitat, overgrown with invasive species through neglect, a predator control program and, as suggested more than 20 years ago by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, restoration of the marsh. The existing resort has no functional education programs for staff to prevent the destruction of protected birdlife, or to coordinate wildlife emergencies with state and federal authorities.

I attended the open house event at Turtle Bay Resort last month. The consultant who did the “near shore study” was asked why he inventoried only the turtles at Kawela Bay when they are present all along the coastline. He replied that he didn’t know how to do that and asked me to explain to him how to do it. I told him it was not my job.

He was asked why he also restricted his surveys of Hawaiian monk seals to Kawela, when everyone knows they haul out and pup on the eastern end of the property. He replied that he was the first person to see a Hawaiian monk seal here in the main Hawaiian islands and was familiar with what they looked like. That’s great, but it did not answer the question.

The consultants who did the animal and plant studies were not at the open house. These are the biologists who didn’t want to investigate the plants in part of the Punahoolapa Marsh because they were afraid of disturbing the fragile ecosystem and then — guess what — didn’t find any endangered wetland plants or indeed any endangered plants anywhere on the property.

Without proper surveys of flora and fauna, impact assessment of the proposed action on the coastal wetland and dune habitats is meaningless. Mitigation in the form of undefined “education programs,” run largely by volunteers, is insufficient. This is not full disclosure.

This area of coastal wetland, while degraded by the presence of a hotel, condos and golf courses, does contain important ecosystems that are rare and fragile enough to warrant protection and restoration. Any expansion of the current footprint of Turtle Bay Resort is untenable with the presence of protected animal and plant species in the SEIS lands and incompatible with their long-term survival.

June 1, 2012

Friends of Kewalos is having their Annual Cleanup June 2, 2012 at 8:30am

We would like to announce Friends of Kewalos is having their Annual Cleanup June 2, 2012 at 8:30am.

kewalo_clean_up_small



May 21, 2012

International Surfing Day cleanup and party – Sun., June 17, at Diamond Head from 10am-12pm & Whole Foods is giving back! 5% of all sales on Wednesday June 20th, 11a.m. til close will benefit Surfrider Foundation

Don’t miss our upcoming  International Surfing Day cleanup and party on Sunday, June 17, at Diamond Head from 10:00am to 12:00pm.  Check in will be a 9:45am at Pu’u Leahi, Diamond Head.  Cleanup will start at 10:00am until 11:45am, when we will return to the staging area.  The cleanup will be followed by an after-party for the volunteers at Tiki’s Bar & Grill, sponsored by Barefoot Wines.

We would also like to announce our Whole Food’s Benefit Event. Whole Foods is giving back!  5% of all sales on Wednesday June 20th, from 11:00a.m. until close. 5% of their sales will benefit Surfrider Foundation.  We will have live entertainment and a booth at the store. SPY Optic is hooking it up with some cool raffle prizes.  Please come out and shop and see us that day!

sf_isd_cleanup_flyer-small

January 4, 2011

Environmental Coalition Defends Waikiki Beach From Controversial New Development

Honolulu, HI (Jan. 4, 2011): Yesterday, a coalition of environmental groups and concerned citizens filed an appeal against the Dept. of Planning & Permitting’s decision to allow Kyo-Ya Hotels to build their proposed 26-story hotel/condo tower on Waikiki Beach. Refuting the “hardships” claimed by the developers, the coalition states that the proposed structure violates existing zoning laws, triples the height of the Moana’s current Diamond Head Tower and encroaches onto the public beach.

Kyo Ya disallowed building

Download PDF of this press release

On Monday, representatives from Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, the Surfrider Foundation, KAHEA and the Ka Iwi/Sandy Beach Coalition, along with preservation advocate Michelle Spalding Matson, submitted their case to the Zoning Board of Appeals. They are in opposition to Kyo-ya Resort & Hotels’ request for a variance that would allow a 26-story hotel-and-condo tower and private swimming pool to be built directly on Waikiki Beach. Specifically, the variance under consideration would allow for a 60-foot encroachment into the 100-foot shoreline setback zone required by Waikiki Special Districtlaw.

The petitioners testified at the DPP’s September hearing and shared their significant concerns about the proposed tower complex and thereby established standing to appeal the DPP director’s decision to approve the project before the Zoning Board of Appeals. The non-profit organizations represent many members and beach users who will be dramatically affected by the towering development and the shadow it will cast over Waikiki’s beaches, existing zoning laws and future developments as other hotels try to claim the same right to encroach into the coastal height setback.

“Thirty five years ago, the city was clear when it adopted the Waikiki Special District guidelines as law — no more towers on the beach,” said Hawaii’s Thousand Friends spokesperson Donna Wong. “With a lot of foresight, the city of Honolulu envisioned a generous Waikiki shoreline with reasonable building setbacks from the public beach. But now Kyo-Ya is claiming as a hardship that they should be allowed to violate the existing height and shoreline setback requirements because the State made a dubious and impossible promise to widen the beach by 180 feet way back in 1965. Yet no past sand replenishment projects or upcoming ones can guarantee widening the shoreline that much; so their argument is based on a phantom condition.”

“Defending beaches is what we do, and Waikiki is certainly worth defending,” said Ka Iwi/Sandy Beach Coalition spokesperson Gary Weller. “Kyo-Ya claims that they are denied ‘reasonable use of the land or building’ due to the current zoning conditions and the narrowness of the property. Yet they knew these facts when they purchased the property, which could be completely renovated without the need for a variance.”

“The DPP Director acknowledges in his analysis that the established coastal height setback requirement ‘effectively limits the building height to about 170 feet,'” says Michelle Matson, a preservation advocate who serves on the Diamond Head Neighborhood Board. “Yet in the absence of proving the hardships for granting a variance, he has arbitrarily approved the requested 26-story height of 308 feet, which exceeds the coastal height setback requirement by an additional 133 feet. This coastal height setback is a zoning ordinance regulation, separate and distinct from allowable ‘flexible options’ offered under other DPP guidelines.”

“This variance disregards existing zoning laws and sets a dangerous precedent for a whole new round of beachfront development.,” warned Stuart Coleman, the Surfrider Foundation’s Hawaii Coordinator. “While other high-end hotels like the Halekulani have done an impressive job of abiding by the zoning laws, this kind of variance could allow Kyo-Ya and other developers to disregard the existing laws and make the same arguments for other hotels like the Royal Hawaiian’s beachside tower.”

“This is not in the long-term best interests of our members and Hawaii’s signature destination, and it is not the best interest of Waikiki beach itself,” Coleman adds. “Given the impacts of hurricanes, tsunamis and sea level rise, disregarding the established shoreline setback is just foolish. We are confident that the facts are on our side, and we hope that the Zoning Board of Appeals will take a long, hard look at the city’s decision-making process for this proposal.”

“If this variance is granted, the proposed Kyo-Ya project will degrade the neighboring Kuhio Beach Park, which is the only one in Waikiki proper,” says Marti Townsend, Program Director of KAHEA. “This beach is not just for tourists. Our members and their families have enjoyed diving, surfing, swimming and worshipping here for generations. These respected practices will be undermined by this massive castle in the sand.”

Contact:

  • Donna Wong, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends: 808-262-0682
  • Gary Weller, Ka Iwi/Sandy Beach Coalition: 808-203-8217
  • Stuart Coleman, Surfrider Foundation: 808-942-3841
  • Marti Townsend, KAHEA: 808-372-1314
  • Michelle Matson: 808-923-2254
April 20, 2010

Surfrider Helps Protect Hawaii’s North Shore in State Supreme Court Victory

COURT RULING MARKS A WIN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Oahu, HI (April 12, 2010) – The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting the North Shore of Oahu’s sensitive coastal environment by requiring the Kuilima Resort Company to supplement the 25 year-old environmental impact statement (“EIS”) that was to be used for Turtle Bay Resort expansion. 

The original 1985 environmental assessment was held to be outdated because of: (1) the subsequent traffic impact projections, which were originally only analyzed through the year 2000; (2) new population growth, visitor units and hotel demands; and (3) new reports of monk seal populations residing and pupping in the effected area.  The court specifically noted the threats to the endangered monk seal and the threatened green sea turtle species that will likely be impacted due to increased human interaction, which was not a contemplated environmental impact in the original EIS.

Surfrider Foundation’s amicus (or “friend of the court”) brief to the Hawaiian State Supreme Court supported the Plaintiffs’ appeal by Keep North Shore Country and the Sierra Club to require a Supplemental EIS that would reflect significant changes to the environment and surrounding community.  The High Court agreed with Plaintiffs and Earth Justice attorneys, who authored the amicus brief, in reversing the Intermediate Court of Appeals (“ICA”) ruling.  Under the restrictive ICA interpretation, a public agency would not currently be required to do supplemental analysis when the intensity of an environmental impact changes.  The Supreme Court reversed this narrow ruling in order to require assessment of new evidence and reports on traffic, species and community changes.

“This is a wonderful victory for the North Shore Community and the future of environmental protection laws in the State of Hawaii,” says Angela Howe, Surfrider Foundation’s Managing Attorney.  “The Hawaii Supreme Court has made it clear that new circumstances and new information, especially with the passage of time, must be taken into account for projects to fully comply with the Hawaiian Environmental Policy Act.”

 “For years, Surfrider’s Oahu Chapter has been working with other groups like the Defend Oahu Coalition to stop the Kuilima Resort’s massive and unreasonable expansion plans,” says Stuart Coleman, Surfrider’s Hawaii Coordinator. “Along with filing an amicus brief in support of Keep the North Shore Country, the Chapter also directed a $10,000 donation from Barefoot Wines to the cause.  So we were stoked to hear the Hawaii Supreme Court’s decision and see justice served in protecting our coastal environment!”

 About Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches.  Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, go to www.surfrider.org and www.surfrider.org/oahu.

November 24, 2007

Surfrider Helps Keep the North Shore Country

At a fundraiser last night in Waimea Valley for Keep the North Shore Country, the Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter presented $10,000 to Keep the North Shore Country, to help in the legal battle to stop Oaktree Corporation and their irresponsible Turtle Bay Expansion without an updated environmental impact statement.  The money was generously provided by Barefoot Wines to use in the Oahu Chapter’s campaign.

Surfrider donation to keep the North Shore Country

Peter Cole, Scott Werny, Stuart Coleman, Gil Reviere (KNSC), Doug Rodman, Marvin Heskett  (Photo by Sylvia Werny)