Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCOT-16-0000690
No. SCOT-16-0000690, Thursday, May 3, 2018, 10 a.m.
THE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS OF HUALALAI, INC., Appellant, vs. LEEWARD PLANNING COMMISSION, COUNTY OF HAWAII; and DUANE KANUHA, PLANNING DIRECTOR, COUNTY OF HAWAII, Appellees.
The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:
Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Attorney for Appellant:
Michael J. Matsukawa
Attorneys for Appellees:
D. Kaena Horowitz and Angelic M. Ho, Deputies Corporation Counsel
COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.
This case involves a direct appeal, pursuant to Act 48, in which the Appellant, Community Associations of Hualalai, Inc., contends that the Appellee, Hawai i Leeward Planning Commission (HLPC), erred when it allowed the Appellee County of Hawai i Planning Director (Planning Director) to prematurely terminate a Chapter 205 contested case. The alleged contested case concerns an application by Appellee-Applicant Bolton, Inc. to engage in various types of activity on its land, including a flood channelization project. Appellant argues that the contested case was terminated “mid-stream,” over the Appellant’s objections, and before the Appellant had the opportunity to be admitted as a party or to present evidence and argument in the contested case.
Appellants arguments are numerous and complex. The Appellant argues the following: (1) HLPC failed to rule on the Appellant’s petition to intervene in the contested case; (2) HLPC failed to render a decision on the application itself; (3) the Planning Director did not have the authority to withdraw the application; (4) HPLC erred in allowing the Planning Director to act on its behalf; (5) the Planning Director erred in determining that the flood channelization project was a permitted land use in the State Agricultural Land Use District.
Appellees respond that the Appellant’s objections by the Planning Director’s decision should not be heard by this court, but rather by the Board of Appeals. With respect to HPLC’s non-action on the application, the Appellees argue that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the application was never approved, a result they characterize as the Appellant’s goal, and thus, the court cannot grant effective relief to the Appellants. Moreover, the Appellees argue that the Appellants lack standing for a number of reasons: (1) there was no hearing on the matter, and thus HLPC never had the opportunity to render a decision concerning Appellant’s rights as defined by HRS § 91-1(5); (2) there is no final decision by the agency to appeal; (3) the Appellant is not an aggrieved person pursuant to HRS § 91-14; (4) HRS § 205-19 does not confer standing to the Appellant. Finally, even if the court has jurisdiction to hear the Appellant’s claims, the Appellees argue that the HPLC did not abuse its discretion when it ended all proceedings after the applicant withdrew its application.