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Press Release / Press Conference -- September 19, 1991
Letter to the Editor - Star Bulletin - 10/16/91 (Arlene Ellis)
Traffic Alternatives Video Showing
Letter from the Editor - Star Bulletin - 9/18/91 (John E. Simonds)
Testimony at City Council Public Hearing on Bill 112
Leasehold Conversion Study
Urgent! Help Needed for Vote Count
Pro-Choice Rally
Charter Review Consensus

Press Release / Press Conference -- September 19, 1991

Charging that the city's approval of a private Convention Center Complex on the old Aloha Motors site violated important State and City planning, zoning, and environmental laws and regulations, 5 community and environmental organizations and a number of Waikiki residents, as individuals, today filed suit in Circuit Court against First Development Inc. and the City and County of Honolulu.

The Plaintiffs include the Neighbors of the Ala Wai, League of Women Voters of Honolulu, American Lung Association of Hawaii, Life of the Land, Inc. and Hawaii's Thousand Friends.

The purpose of this suit is to persuade the Court to declare all processes, approvals and permits relating to plans for the 10-acre property at the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard null and void, and to restore the property to its prior zoning designation. Also requested is submission of an Environmental Impact Statement, and that the Court issue an injunction against any further construction or granting of permits and approvals until after the case has been settled.

Speaking for the Plaintiffs, Arlene Kim Ellis, President of the League of Women Voters of Honolulu, said that they only reluctantly decided to sue after waiting vainly for over a year for the City Council to reconsider its 5/4 approval of the project plan. The plan was approved as proposed by the Developer, without any significant changes, in spite of serious and continuous public criticism of its unprecedented height and bulkiness, and its failure to comply with many environmental and zoning regulations.

"The total development on this one lot," Ellis said, "would contain almost half as much building floor area as our entire Downtown Financial District. It s height would be that of the Century Center building across the street with the Aloha Tower piled on top of it, plus 20 more feet. We're talking about a building 520 feet high. Its density will be more than twice what the zoning allows. Parking requirements will not be met. No adequate provisions are in the plan for removal of seriously toxic ground and water pollution.

"All this was possible only because the City Administration, with the compliance of the City Council, hurried the project through the planning process with inadequate review of its impacts and with no attention to public criticism. In effect, a special new zoning District was manufactured -- illegally, we think, tailored specifically to accommodate the Developer's proposal for this one site and unrelated to any comprehensive or orderly planning procedure."

The complaint includes 19 counts setting forth the specific sections of laws and regulations which the plaintiffs allege were violated, as well as the irregular procedures and processes followed. "We emphasize that none of us oppose building a convention center as such. What we oppose is, this particular plan which, under the guise of providing essential community services is, basically, a huge private profit-making commercial enterprise, with 80% of its floor area allegedly accessory to a modest-sized privately-owned and privately-operated convention center occupying less than 20% of the project's floor area.

"We thought someone had to blow the whistle," Ellis said, so, when nobody else did, -- the plaintiffs decided it was up to them. We hope that the Court will agree that this kind of special dealing is not acceptable in a country governed not by man, but by law.

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