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Sierra Club challenges Koa Ridge approval vote



The Sierra Club is appealing the state Land Use Commission’s decision to reclassify 576 acres of agriculture land in Central Oahu for Castle & Cooke’s Koa Ridge housing and commercial development and to conditionally approve the reclassification of another 192 acres of agriculture land nearby for phase two of the project.

The environmental organization filed its appeal in state Circuit Court yesterday. It claims the commission’s Oct. 15 decision did not receive the necessary number of votes for approval because Duane Kanuha was ineligible to serve as a commissioner.

Hawaii Administrative Rules for the LUC say approvals of petitions for boundary amendments require six yes votes.

The vote was six to zero in favor with three members excused. Kanuha cast one of the six votes.

Kanuha’s four-year term as the Big Island commissioner ended June 30 last year. The state Senate rejected his re-appointment on April 26. However, he remains on the commission as a holdover member.

State law requires board and commission members appointed by the governor be confirmed by the state Senate. The law also says any member whose term has expired may continue in office as a holdover until a successor is nominated and appointed, provided that a holdover shall not remain in office beyond the end of the second regular legislative session following the expiration.

Bruce Barrett, Castle & Cooke Hawaii’s executive vice president of residential operations, said the company cannot comment on the appeal because it has not seen it.



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