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Shoreline protection groups sue to stop Maui condo association

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WAILUKU, Hawaii >> Two Maui shoreline protection groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the Hololani condominium association from beginning work on a measure to halt beach erosion.

The West Maui Preservation Association and the Na Papa’i Wawae ‘Ula’ula group filed the suit last week, claiming changes to a shoreline protection project in Kahana were not approved, The Maui News reported.

The Hololani Association of Apartment Owners planned to begin work next month on installing sheet piles. A hearing in state court has been scheduled for Friday.

Faced with erosion threats, the Hololani association began shoreline hardening measures over a decade ago. It installed sandbags and erosion blankets as temporary solutions, and it sought to construct a 400-foot seawall. The Maui Planning Commission gave approval for the seawall project in 2014.

The project required an easement because it would encroach onto the state-owned shoreline. The Hololani association sought approval from state Legislature this year, but lawmakers did not act on the easement request.

The group altered the project plans to install only the sheet piles off of state shoreline, getting approval from then-Planning Director Will Spence.

The Maui Planning Commission should have made the decision on the project changes, bringing the matter before public hearings, said Lance Collins, the protection groups’ attorney.

“The new sheet metal armoring project is Hololani’s attempt to work around its failure to obtain approvals for a different seawall and rock revetment from the state earlier this year,” the two groups said in a statement.

The newspaper’s attempts to reach the Hololani association were unsuccessful Monday.

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