Oral Argument Before the Supreme Court

No. SCWC-11-0000625, Thursday, February 7, 2013, 11 a.m.

SIERRA CLUB, Petitioner/Appellant-Appellee, vs. CASTLE & COOKE HOMES HAWAI`I, INC.; and THE LAND USE COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondents/Appellees-Appellants, and OFFICE OF PLANNING, STATE OF HAWAI`I; DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND PERMITTING; and NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 25, Respondents/Appellees-Appellees.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorney for Petitioner/Appellant-Appellee: 

Robert D. Harris

Attorneys for Respondent/Appellee-Appellant Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc.: 

Benjamin M. Matsubara, Curtis T. Tabata, and Wyeth M. Matsubara of Matsubara-Kotake

Attorney for Respondent/Appellee-Appellant Land Use Commission, State of Hawai`i: 

Marissa H.I. Luning, Deputy Solicitor General

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 01/03/13.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SRA, SSM, & RWP, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner/appellant-appellee Sierra Club timely filed an application for a writ of certiorari to review the Intermediate Court of Appeal’s (ICA) September 25, 2012 judgment, entered pursuant to its August 24, 2012 published opinion. The ICA’s judgment in this consolidated appeal reversed the Circuit Court of the First Circuit’s October 5, 2011 final judgment, which entered judgment in favor of the Sierra Club and against respondents/appellees-appellants Castle & Cooke Homes Hawai`i, Inc. (Castle & Cooke), the Land Use Commission of the State of Hawaiʻi (LUC), the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning, the Department of Planning and Permitting, and Neighborhood Board No. 25.

This case involves a challenge to the LUC’s decision to grant a Petition for Land Use Boundary Amendment to reclassify Castle & Cooke’s land in Waipiʻo, O`ahu, from an agricultural designation to an urban designation to allow for the development of two projects: Koa Ridge Makai and Castle & Cooke Waiawa. Specifically, Sierra Club challenges LUC commissioner Duane Kanuha’s participation in the decision-making on Castle & Cooke’s Petition. Kanuha was nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate to serve an initial four-year term on the LUC. After his initial term expired, the Senate did not confirm Kanuha for a second term. Nevertheless, Kanuha participated and voted to grant Castle & Cooke’s petition. The Sierra Club raises one issue in its application: “Whether a member of a government board or commission is ‘disqualified’ under [Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS)] § 26-34 and the Hawai`i State Constitution once his initial term expires and the Senate expressly rejects his reappointment to a second term after duly considering his background, experience, and performance.” The respondents argue that Kanuha could serve under HRS § 26-34 as a valid holdover member of the commission.

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