HONOLULU -- The Maui Planning Commission was wrong when it said an environmental assessment was not required for the 296-unit Napilihau Villages townhouse development, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
It reversed a 2nd Circuit Court order upholding the commission and remanded the issue to the commission to reconsider the special management area permit it issued to the JGL Enterprises on Sept. 15, 1994.
The permit was challenged by the Kahana Sunset Owners Association, which appealed the case to the high court. Representatives of the litigants could not be reached for comment this morning.
The Supreme Court agreed with the owners association that the project, which includes installation of a 36-inch drainage pipe, requires an environmental assessment under the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act.
Without the environmental assessment, the commission and the public were not provided the information to determine the potential environmental significance of the project, the court said.
The fact that the Kahana Sunset group was allowed to participate in the commission's contested case hearing on the project does not justify not requiring the environmental assessment, it said.
``Allowing the participation in a contested case hearing to excuse lack of compliance with (state law) would effectively shift this burden to concerned members of the public,'' the court said.
Besides addressing the environmental assessment, the court said the commission must also evaluate the owners association's concern that the proposed drainage plan would increase runoff into the Kahana Sunset's drainage system, which sends water into Alaeloa Bay.
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Psy 412 Miami University. Last revised: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 17:06:35. This document has been accessed 1 times since July 15, 1997. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman .