KAILUA-KONA >> A business co-owned by a Hawaii County official pulled back a rezone request after a Hilo woman successfully argued that a warehouse for pumping trucks didn’t belong in her neighborhood.
Arlene Kimata’s protest of the industrial warehouse failed in July before the Windward Planning Commission but received a sympathetic hearing Friday before the Hawaii County Council, West Hawaii Today reported.
LK & RR Enterprises LLC, co-owned by Randy Riley, chief of the county’s Automotive Division, withdrew the rezone request when council members indicated they would not grant it.
“I am shocked. I’m just glad this issue got the proper airing,” Kimata said. “If I had not come forward, this result probably would not have happened and this would have been rubber-stamped.”
Riley told council members he was the victim in the matter. He had no idea what was being constructed, he said, until he saw it on the ground. He has fired his architect, he said.
The company’s 40-by-180-foot steel-framed warehouse was built with a permit allowing a single-family home. It housed two pumping trucks owned by Kamaaina Pumping, a county contracting operation that Riley co-owns.
Building plans approved by the Department of Public Works called for five 20-foot bay doors, 5,996 square feet of garage space and 1,218 square feet of living space. Residential space was never constructed.
The council Planning Committee forwarded the matter last month but warned the Public Works Department and Planning Department that it wanted the applicant penalized. Riley’s company was fined $500 and ordered to remove the trucks.
A rezone from residential to commercial would not have allowed the trucks unless the property were zoned industrial, said planning director Duane Kanuha.
“We didn’t approve a warehouse. We approved a residential structure, and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that this has been constructed,” Kanuha said.
Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille said the rezone should not be allowed.
“I believe if we approve this, it’s a real slap in the face to those who follow the rules,” she said. “It’s a matter of trust and people worrying that it’s an insider … getting away with something.”