Hawaii News Haseko vows to finish development despite ruling By Jayna Omaye Sept. 21, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The Ewa Beach developer hit with about $27 million in damages over the decision to build a recreational lagoon rather than a marina says it will continue to pursue its city application to complete the last undeveloped phase of the Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei project. Haseko Vice President Sharene Saito Tam said the company is “committed to completing this project” and that the decision to build a lagoon “was a more efficient and quicker way to finish the project.” “The jury verdict was about money. It was not about what we’re applying to do,” Saito Tam said. “Leaving a project undone is not good for anybody. We thought it (not completing the project) would be far more harmful across the board.” To proceed with the development, Haseko will need to win approval from the City Council on Bill 62, which seeks to rezone 62.3 acres between White Plains Beach and Oneula Beach Park. The measure, which was granted a time extension, accommodates an update to the Hoakalei Master Plan that will feature a lagoon instead of a marina as the focal point of the area. The bill passed first reading at a meeting this month and was referred to the Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee. The company will also need a separate special management area use permit and shoreline setback variance to develop, among other things, covered pavilions and a pedestrian pathway within a 60-foot shoreline setback. That proposal, resolution 15-206, was also granted a time extension and will be taken up later. Council members also passed Bill 63 on first reading this month, which amends boundaries of the special management area to reflect the development of a lagoon. Bills 62 and 63 were not placed on last week’s Zoning and Planning Committee agenda. That allows Council members more time to review the proposals and documents, said Committee Chairman Ikaika Anderson. City Department of Planning and Permitting Director George Atta said Wednesday that the department is not planning to reconsider its recommendations of approval for Haseko’s proposals. “The recent court case was not about planning or zoning, but rather contractual agreements between a developer and those purchasing property from that developer,” Atta said in a statement Wednesday. “Therefore, it does not affect the applicant’s proposal to construct a lagoon instead of a marina.” But Michael Green, who represents the homeowners who filed the class-action suit arguing that they were promised a world-class marina, said he does not think Haseko should continue with its application given the jury’s verdict that the firm violated a consumer protection law. The jury this month awarded special and punitive damages to about 1,800 homeowners. “I frankly don’t think the Council is going to let them do it,” Green said Wednesday. “The entire community was based on this marina concept. (But) the very hole that they dug for the marina is now filled with water for the lagoon.” The nine homeowners — including state Rep. Matt LoPresti (D, Ewa Villages-Ocean Pointe-Ewa Beach) — who filed suit in July 2013 argued that the switch to a lagoon lowered property values and that they have been paying association dues based on the maintenance of a marina. Haseko’s lawyer, Steven Chung, said he will file motions requesting the court set aside the judgment because there was no evidence of liability or damage. He added that juries cannot award punitive damages in cases of unfair or deceptive acts or practices, which was one of the lawsuit’s claims. But Haseko’s project has frustrated some residents who maintain that further development will harm the neighborhood and limit public access, particularly to Oneula Beach Park. In May the Honolulu Planning Commission had given Haseko’s rezoning request a thumbs-up, but members had added language to ensure that the company provides public access and parking. A prior zoning approval allows for 950 visitor units and 4,850 residential units for the entire 1,100-acre property. City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, who represents the area, said because of the jury’s verdict, she “would like to see if it’s possible to put in legislation that will ensure that any public benefits be built first.” “It’s already been introduced to the Council, so we’re going to do our due diligence whether there’s a lawsuit or not,” Pine said. “(But) whenever we rezone land, we want to make sure that promises that the developer makes to the Council and the people, that they are fulfilled. And right now that’s in question.” Previous Story ‘Old friends’ lead Hokule‘a to Mauritius Next Story 'Remember me — I'm the red cab'