Oral Agugments before the Intermediate Court of Appeals
No. 29440, Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 10 a.m.
KAUAI SPRINGS, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant/Appellee, v. PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE COUNTY OF KAUAI, Defendant-Appellee/Appellant.
Attorney(s) for Defendant-Appellee/Appellant: Alfred B. Castillo, Jr., County Attorney and David J. Minkin and Christopher D. Bayne (McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon)
Attorney(s) for Plaintiff-Appellant/Appellee: Robert H. Thomas and Mark M. Murakami (Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert)
COURT: Foley, Fujise and Ginoza, JJ.
SPECIAL NOTE: The above argument will take place in the Supreme Court courtroom on the Second Floor of Ali`iolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai`i.
The Planning Commission of the County of Kaua`i (Planning Commission) issued its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Decision and Order (Decision and Order) denying Plaintiff-Appellant/Appellee Kauai Springs, Inc.’s (Kauai Springs) application for a Use Permit, Special Permit, and Class IV Zoning Permit for a water bottling facility located in Koloa, Kaua`i. Kauai Springs appealed from the Planning Commission’s Decision and Order to the Circuit Court of the Fifth Circuit (Circuit Court).
The Circuit Court subsequently issued its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order (Circuit Court Order), which reversed in part and vacated in part the Planning Commission’s Decision and Order. The Circuit Court held, inter alia, that the Decision and Order exceeded the Planning Commission’s authority or jurisdiction; was clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence in the whole record; and was arbitrary, or capricious, or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
The Planning Commission appeals from the Circuit Court’s Order. On appeal, the Planning Commission asserts that the Circuit Court erred (1) in implicitly concluding that the Planning Commission had no duty under the public trust doctrine to consider Kauai Springs’ water use; (2) in concluding that the record lacks any evidence that Kauai Springs’ existing or proposed uses of water might affect resources subject to the public trust; (3) in implicitly holding that the Planning Commission failed to consider the proper criteria for zoning permits when it required Kauai Springs to prove the legality of its commercialization of fresh-water resources; (4) in concluding as a matter of law that Kauai Springs carried its burden of proof that its proposed use of fresh water resources was legal under Hawaiʻi law; (5) in concluding as a matter of law that Kauai Springs was properly integrated into the community of uses and met the requirements for the zoning permits at issue; and (6) in concluding as a matter of law that Kauai Springs did not assent to extend the automatic approval deadlines for the Use and Class IV Zoning Permits.