Law­suit filed against Maui Lani Part­ners

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By LEE IMADA,

Plain­tiffs seek halt to all work un­til devel­oper com­plies with ar­chae­o­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing plan

Man­ag­ing Edi­tor

A group op­pos­ing sand min­ing and other ac­tiv­i­ties that it says threaten buri­als in Maui Lani filed a law­suit against Maui Lani Part­ners on Thurs­day seek­ing an in­junc­tion to halt all work un­til the devel­oper com­plies with the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing plan.

Malama Kakanilua and mem­bers Clare H. Apana and Kaniloa Ka­maunu filed the law­suit in 2nd Cir­cuit En­vi­ron­men­tal Court as the Maui County Coun­cil con­sid­ers ways to reg­u­late sand min­ing in light of re­cent sand ex­ca­va­tion and ex­por­ta­tion in the Maui Lani Phase IX project. The coun­cil’s In­fra­struc­ture and En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee is set to take up the bill at 1:30 p.m. Mon­day in Coun­cil Cham­bers.

While the devel­oper and con­trac­tor told the coun­cil in May that they have stopped grad­ing work, ex­cept for ero­sion, safety and cleanup ac­tiv­i­ties, com­mu­nity mem­bers “have since re­ported see­ing sand hauled away from the Maui Lani project ar­eas and ground dis­turb­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at the site,” said a news re­lease Fri­day by the plain­tiffs.

Their at­tor­ney, Lance Collins, said trucks were seen go­ing in and out of the project site with ma­te­rial for one whole day in the last cou­ple of weeks. Collins said the group was told that blue rock and not sand was be­ing moved, though mem­bers could not con­firm that. Sites that have been used to video ac­tiv­i­ties have been blocked from view, he said.

Call­ing it “a cat-and-mouse kind of thing,” Collins said Fri­day that ex­ca­vat­ing blue rock in­volves earth

mov­ing, which could dis­turb buri­als. The de­vel­op­ers should not be do­ing any­thing, he said.

Leiane Paci of Maui Lani Part­ners said Fri­day that “no ma­te­rial has been trans­ported off the prop­erty since be­fore May 1st.”

“Af­ter May 1st, the only time equip­ment has been on prop­erty is to com­plete best man­age­ment prac­tices as re­quired

by the County Code,” she said.

Con­trac­tor HC&D and Maui Lani Part­ners stopped mov­ing and trans­port­ing sand May 1 af­ter re­ceiv­ing a county no­tice to cor­rect vi­o­la­tions. The county says that the devel­oper’s grad­ing per­mit was not in dis­pute, but that the ex­ca­va­tion and ex­por­ta­tion of high-qual­ity sand for con­crete and other uses meet the def­i­ni­tion of “re­source ex­trac­tion,” which re­quires other per­mits.

Collins said Fri­day that he does not be­lieve that the devel­oper even can ob­tain a spe­cialuse or con­di­tional per­mit be­cause of the prop­erty’s res­i­den­tial zon­ing.

While the coun­cil, Mayor Alan Arakawa and the state Of­fice of Hawai­ian Af­fairs took up the cause, Malama Kakanilua mem­bers be­lieve that ac­tion could be weeks or months away, and “they are con­cerned that more buri­als could be dis­turbed” if noth­ing

were done, Collins said.

The com­plaint al­leges that Maui Lani Part­ners is con­tin­u­ing its ground-dis­turb­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at its Maui Lani Phase IX site in vi­o­la­tion of state his­toric preser­va­tion laws, county grad­ing per­mits and county zon­ing laws.

The plain­tiffs are seek­ing a pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion from En­vi­ron­men­tal Court Judge Joseph Car­doza to halt earth­dis­turb­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that can threaten buri­als un­til the devel­oper com­plies with its ar­chae­o­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing plan, the news re­lease said. The plain­tiff’s con­tention is that the devel­oper is re­quired by the plan

to have an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal mon­i­tor on site at all times when per­form­ing grad­ing work, which has not been done, Collins said.

A Sept. 8 court date has been set for a hear­ing on the in­junc­tion. Car­doza could im­pose an in­junc­tion ear­lier, which would move up the hear­ing date, Collins added.

Malama Kakanilua is a hui formed years ago to pro­tect iwi (bones), buri­als and other his­toric and ar­chae­o­log­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant sites on Maui. The group is named for Kakanilua, a fa­mous bat­tle that oc­curred in the sand hills of Cen­tral Maui, the news re­lease said.

“I want my chil­dren to grow

up and know and be proud of the his­tory of this place,” said An­nette Heu, a mem­ber of Malama Kakanilua. “With our ac­tions, the iwi kupuna will know that some­one cared about them.”

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Where does the man end and the sand be­gin?” asked Ka­maunu, a lin­eal de­scen­dant of the area. “The dead from the bat­tle of Kakanilua be­came part of this place, their ano melded with the sand hills, and they should not be dis­turbed.”

Staff Writer Melissa Tanji con­trib­uted to the re­port. Lee Imada can be reached at

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