Contested Grand Wailea stakeholder case reopened to public [zoom links here]
In 2018, the owners of the Grand Wailea Resort applied for permission from the Maui Planning Commission to renovate and expand the resort into a Special Management Area in Paeahu, Maui.
Three indigenous Hawaiian community groups – Mālama Kakanilua, Ho’oponopono o Mākena and Pele Defense Fund – have obtained a request to intervene in the proceedings. Stakeholders are taking on corporate mega-giant BRE-Iconic, which is part of the Blackstone Group and controls many hotel properties around the world, including the Grand Wailea Resort. Between 1986 and 2009, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources reported finding 344 graves on the grounds of Grand Wailea in South Maui. These iwi kupuna (ancestral remains) were disturbed, crushed and “moved” from the 40-acre plot to make way for the mega luxury resort, and important cultural sites were also destroyed. Responders are fighting to stop further desecration that would occur if the Grand Wailea were allowed to renovate and expand.
The Maui Planning Commission has appointed Maui attorney Linden Joesting as the hearing officer for the contested case. On May 7, Joesting issued an order denying that the proceedings should be open to the public, reaffirming an earlier ruling that the proceedings proceed regardless of the COVID-19 emergency or stay-at-home orders based on the need to “. get county administrative law work done.
On May 19, media groups wrote to the hearing officer and the chairman of the Maui Planning Commission asking that the disputed case be reopened to the public. But subsequently, another secret hearing took place in which the hearing officer made further decisions. Media and reporters were left with no choice and filed a motion for a writ of mandamus with the Hawaii Supreme Court, seeking an order demanding that the proceedings in the contested case be reopened to the public.
In July, the Hawaii Supreme Court ordered the Maui Planning Commission to respond and explain why it had closed the proceedings in the contested case to the press and the public. The Maui Planning Commission subsequently reopened the hearings to the public, starting this week.
The first session took place on Tuesday July 28. At that hearing, Hearing Officer Joesting rendered several summary judgments, barring the evidence on: shore certification issues or shoreline location, environmental assessment issues regarding the shoreline or perhaps entirely , future traffic plans, water issues that do not relate to meeting water system standards and affordable housing.
The hearings now move on to the next phase, during which each party will have 9.5 hours to present their cases. The BRE will start on July 29 at 9 a.m. It is expected that interveners will present their witnesses on July 31 and August 3.
All media and the public are invited to watch these audiences on Zoom. Upcoming hearing dates (all excluding VAT): *
07/29/2020 at 9:00 a.m.
07/30/2020 at 8:30 a.m.
07/31/2020 at 8:30 a.m.
03/08/2020 at 10h00
Use this link to join the Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87465786755
Zoom webinar number: 874 6578 6755
* Zoom link not working? Contact Clare Apana at 808-214-4411
These start times are correct as of 07/28. Please contact Clare if you would like to confirm any information about the upcoming hearings.
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