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Archive for the ‘Waianae’ Category

From Marti:

After sitting through four days of testimony from Tropic Land, the developer proposing to industrialize farmland at the back of Lualualei Valley, last week the Concerned Elders of Wai‘anae finally got their chance to say their peace.  In just a day and a half, the Elders presented 9 witnesses, 5 of them experts.  They all testified to the immense cultural significance of this area and the inadequacy of the cultural impact assessment conducted for this property, they testified to the rural nature of this community and how 500 more vehicles an hour on these roads would cripple their traffic system, they also testified to the history of farming on this exact spot, the tendency of this area to flood, and how poor the soil is for building on.

Professor Puakea Nogelmeier, Eric Enos and Emil Wolfgramm schooled the developer and the Commission on the cultural significance of landscape to Native Hawaiian cultural practice and the importance of the demigod Maui to Wai‘anae and all of the Pacific.  The industrial park is proposed for construction on the shoulder of Maui’s profile in the Wai‘anae mountain range.

Professor Jonathan Deenik, Gary Enos, and Walterbea Aldeguar demonstrated how this land is good for farming and bad for urbanization.  The developer’s attorney actually tried again with that giant orange bucket of dirt.  But it didn’t work.  They all agreed, yes, even with rocks like that, this land can grow food — good food!

And Aunties Alice Greenwood, Lori Nordlum and Elizabeth Stack offered the Commission a unique perspective into the history of this land and this community with their stories about Hakimo Road, the old railroad that would have to be moved to make way for the industrial park, and farming in their backyards.

It was a great showing for Wai‘anae!  Eo Wai‘anae!!

The next hearing is tentatively scheduled for February 2nd, 9 am at 235 S. Beretania St., 4th Floor. This should be an exciting hearing.  We hope to finally hear the much-anticipated testimony of Hanalei Aipoalani, the author of the Cultural Impact Assessment for this project.  Unfortunately, he has not been available to testify at previous hearings.  We may also hear again from Project Manager for this proposal, Arick Yanagihara, and for the first time from their consultant, Aunty Roberta Ulu Searle.

The Land Use Commission is expected to make a decision in this case in the Spring.

Relatedly, the City’s Planning Commission is expected to hear public testimony on the Wai‘anae Sustainable Communities Plan on February 16, 2011 in Kapolei. A purple industrial spot was inserted on the land use map in this plan specifically to allow for Tropic Land’s industrial park, even though there was never community consensus for the project.  People concerned about the loss of agricultural lands in Wai‘anae should attend the Planning Commission’s hearing on the Wai‘anae Sustainable Communities Plan — because if approved, this purple spot would be on the community’s plan for a very long time, whether or not Tropic Land is granted permission to build.

Read more:

Community comes to the defense of Lualualei Valley’s ag land,” The Hawaii Independent, January 11, 2010.

 

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From Marti:

The Hawaii Land Use Commission is considering whether to allow an industrial park on farmland in Lualualei Valley.  The contested case hearing process for this decision is currently underway.  We just completed the second set of two-day hearings, where the developer introduced a bucket of dirt.

Why? What does the bucket of dirt prove?

We weren’t sure.  The bucket was introduced into evidence on the first day and it sat there, staring at us until the last hour of the hearing.  The attorney for the developer questioned the representative from the State Department of Agriculture.  And I am paraphrasing here, but basically it went like this:

Attorney (standing over open bucket of dirt, pulls out a rock): Can you farm dirt with rocks like this?

Dept. of Ag: Yes.

All that intrigue over the mysterious bucket of dirt and what did we learn?  That things aren’t always what people tell you they are.

Just because the developer says this land is not fit for farming, doesn’t make it true and it doesn’t justify turning that land into an industrial park.

Likewise, just because the developer says there is no known cultural significance or environmental health issues or traffic problems… doesn’t make it true.

With just a few pointed questions, we learned that the traffic impact analysis actually isn’t adequate, the air quality and run-off studies are not relevant to Lualualei Valley, and archeological survey hasn’t been updated since 1993.

The Concerned Elders of Waianae are preparing now to present their side of the case on January 6 and 7th.  If you are interested in providing public testimony, please join us at 9 am on January 6th and the LUC offices in Honolulu (235 Beretania St. #405).

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