Supreme Court hears Turtle Bay expansion dispute

Supreme Court hears Turtle Bay expansion dispute

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a dispute over environmental law. At stake is a plan to expand the Turtle Bay Resort.

A grassroots group called Keep the North Shore Country wants a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement conducted before the project moves ahead.

"It's a giant project. It will impact residents in ways which were never predicted 24 years ago," attorney Rory Wicks told the court.

Property owner Kuilima Resort Company wants to build five new hotels and 1,000 luxury condos in the area. Kuilima's attorney Sharon Lovejoy told the justices an EIS done in 1985 is sufficient.

"There is no shelf life on an EIS," she argued.

She said if the court orders a supplemental EIS it would lead to a "long, arduous fight in court."

"It would take time and money," she said.

Wicks argued that updated traffic studies need to be done, saying the expansion will lead to traffic gridlock. Lovejoy said the original EIS accounted for increased traffic.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon said the court will take the matter under advisement.

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