April 1995 Home   Newsletters

May 1995

June-July 1995

President's Message: League Lobbies Legislature (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
League Action at the Legislature (Jean Aoki)
Violence Prevention and Education Bill Dies (Pamela Ferguson-Brey & Martha Ross)
Convention Delegates Sought
Restructuring Committee Put on Hold (Jean Aoki)
Letters: Queen's Beach (Jean Aoki & Astrid Monson)
League Reviews Oahu Regional Transportation Plan (Arlene Ellis)
Action Alert
Vote Count Volunteers Needed (Arlene Ellis)

Letters: Queen's Beach

The following letter was sent to the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin.

On October 10, 1985, a Honolulu Advertiser editorial applauded Mayor Eileen Anderson's decision to "downzone the scenic Queen's Beach area to preservation use ... and to limit resort development to areas already in that use" except for West Beach. This action was part of a more general downzoning of some thirteen resort areas in various parts of the island, which followed adoption of the General and Development plans in 1982.

The downzoning was upheld on Sept. 25, 1986 by federal judge Samuel P. King, who tossed out a Kaiser Development Co. lawsuit seeking compensation for alleged lost property value. In 1990 a federal appeals court affirmed Judge King's ruling on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to prove that the City's action "left the land with no economically viable use." (Preservation zoning permits golf courses, crop production, livestock grazing, outdoor recreation facilities, vacation cabins, and zoos, among other uses.)

In 1991 the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, let stand the federal appeals court confirmation of the lower court's ruling.

On April 3, 1995, however, the Bishop Estate threatened to sue the City and County of Honolulu for some $100 million, representing alleged property value losses caused them by the downzoning, unless the City now agreed to upzone the site to permit hotels and other resort uses and added industrial use near the Hawaii Kai sewage treatment plan. Did Bishop offer the City remuneration in exchange for the increase in value of its Hawaii Kai property when it was upzoned?

With the city already facing a $74 million budget shortfall in the coming year, this could obviously panic the City Council into abandoning its current plans to preserve the shoreline and natural environment in this part of the island. The public can only hope that the City Council will not let itself be railroaded into submitting to this kind of political blackmail.

Astrid Monson
Chair, Planning & Zoning
Jean Aoki

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