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Group challenges Koa Ridge decision

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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 the second phase of the project.

The environmental organization filed its appeal in Circuit Court Wednesday. 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.

The Hawaii Administrative Rules for the Land Use Commission say approvals of petitions for boundary amendments require six "yes" votes.

The vote was 6-0 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, 2009, and the state Senate rejected his reappointment on April 26. However, he remains on the commission as a holdover member.

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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