Construction of new Oahu SPCA shelter hit with violation notices

Construction of new Oahu SPCA shelter hit with violation notices
Published: Oct. 15, 2015 at 2:02 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 15, 2015 at 8:02 PM HST
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KAHALUU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was just last August that groundbreaking was held on a plot of land in Kahaluu for the new home of the Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

But it doesn't look like it will meet its deadline to open this month.

Oahu SPCA officials said wet weather has delayed work on the 2.2-acre property.

But there has also been a flood of complaints against construction on the land, including numerous calls alleging illegal grading on the property.

Following the complaints, the city Department of Permitting and Planning sent inspectors to follow up.

"They were told to leave the property, as a matter of fact," said Deputy Planning Director Art Challacombe. "But we do have enough evidence and information that we did issue two notices of violation."

Challacombe made the announcement at a meeting of the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board. He told the gathering that the city would also require the SPCA to get the required permit.

"We are going to, in addition to the required Special Management Area permit, we are requiring an environmental assessment," he said. The project was originally exempted from that requirement.

The SPCA has been hoping to move its shelter from its current crowded facilities in Kapolei. But its potential Kahaluu neighbors said they want the project halted. Some said they only learned about it when they saw the groundbreaking on the news.

"We are, as family members right around that area, are very opposed to it because it seems like it was snuck into the community," said resident Eldean Kukahiko.

"Nothing against the SPCA itself or the kind of work that they do, but wrong place," said another opponent, John Reppun.

The SPCA said it was doing repairs to the existing farm road on the property, and that the wet weather caused significant damage to it.

The organization also said the work had been inspected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and that it is waiting for a final report from the Corps to complete the application for the Special Management Area permit, which it says it has already submitted to the city. However, a spokesman for the Corps told Hawaii News Now that it is still waiting for information from the SPCA before it can finalize its report, which it will do "with all due haste once we receive the required info from SPCA."

At least one resident came to the agency's defense -- to a point.

"They're trying to get all the moving parts together to get this in place to serve the animals," said resident Ned Bush. "Are there problems? Yes."

Those problems are already holding up the work. The board could not vote on the project at Wednesday night's meeting, but it has scheduled a possible decision for its next meeting, which won't happen until December.

On Thursday, Oahu SPCA President Stephanie Ryan provided the following statement to Hawaii News Now:

Throughout the planning and building process the Oahu SPCA has followed the guidelines from the appropriate City, State and Federal agencies. All construction that has taken place to date has been done in full compliance with their rules and regulations. We look forward to fulfilling our mission of saving lives and to serving animals and our community.

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