Pila’a subdivision application pulled

Representatives of Pila’a 400, L.L.C., formerly Pflueger Properties, have withdrawn an application to subdivide 383 acres of North Shore land into a 19-lot residential subdivision.

The hui that owns the property in the Pila’a area of Kaua’i, near Kilauea, “does not wish to subdivide the subject property, and as a result hereby withdraws the subdivision application,” Pila’a 400 attorney Max W.J. Graham, Jr. wrote in a letter to the Kaua’i Planning Commission’s Subdivision Committee.

The committee meets this morning, and the entire commission meets this afternoon.

Retired Honolulu car dealer Jimmy Pflueger is one of the partners in Pila’a 400, L.L.C. (limited liability company), which had been moving through the governmental approval process required for the subdivision.

The property has been the subject of public scrutiny before the Planning Commission and County Council, and Graham earlier admitted his client did grading, construction and other activities on the property without proper governmental permits.

Legal proceedings continue as well. A suit was filed by one of the property’s neighbors, alleging that the un-permitted work caused damage to their land and buildings.

The withdrawal of the subdivision application also won’t stop continued governmental and private-sector investigations into the alleged activities.

Earthjustice, which represents the Limu Coalition and Kilauea Neighborhood Association, is still investigating the potential of filing a lawsuit against the property owners in federal court, alleging violations of both state and federal clean-water laws.

And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state Department of Health, state Department of Land and Natural Resources, county attorneys, county Department of Public Works, and Kaua’i Planning Department are all continuing to investigate various un-permitted activities on the property.

“They are not in compliance,” said David Henkin, Earthjustice staff attorney. The developer does not have a stormwater discharge permit from the state Department of Health, he said.

“They need to correct the ongoing violations that their reckless conduct has caused,” take care of mountains of grubbed material piled up without permits, and come up with a plan to restore a formerly pristine reef “trashed by polluted runoff,” said Henkin.

He said the 60-day notice issued to the landowner as required before a federal suit could be filed was given on June 1, and although the notice period has expired, no lawsuit has been filed yet.

Earthjustice personnel continue to investigate the allegations, and will take appropriate action when that investigation is done, Henkin added.

Graham is on vacation and wasn’t available for comment.

A state Department of Health spokeswoman said the property owners are making efforts to establish immediate and long-term mitigation where clean-water laws are concerned.

“They did respond to our notice, so they have submitted plans to remediate the situation,” said Janice Okubo of the state DOH. “But we’re in the process of reviewing those plans.

“They’ve also had some action in putting together some immediate plans to stop the discharge at this point, and we’re also reviewing that work to make sure it’s in compliance with what it is we need to stop the discharge,” said Okubo.

Meanwhile, the Kaua’i Planning Department staff has been meeting with county attorneys to determine the best course of county action, said Dee Crowell, planning director.

A problem is that the alleged violations bring into play a variety of governmental agencies, all with their own systems of dealing with said violations both administratively and judicially, Crowell continued.

Still to be determined is which agency will take the lead, he said.

The developer, whose partners according to Crowell have a slew of environmental and legal consultants retained, has offered some mitigation measures, and is proposing others.

“The big fix is still yet to come,” said Crowell.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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