Senate passes Koloa Camp resolution

Following the County of Kaua‘i last week, the Hawai‘i State Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution to urge Grove Farm Co. to place an immediate stay of eviction of six tenant family residents at Koloa Camp.

The resolution, introduced by state Sen. Ron Kouchi, D-Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, and state Sen. Clayton Hee on March 2, urges Grove Farm to discuss alternative development plans for the properties.

“This is a formal expression of the Senate’s position on this issue,” Senate Clerk Carol Taniguchi said.

A concurrent resolution with the same message, introduced on Feb. 22, was adopted and sent to the House on March 2. It was deferred Wednesday for legal review from the state Attorney General.

“The committee doesn’t want to push something through the body that is legally flawed,” state Rep. Dee Morikawa, whose district includes Koloa, said Wednesday.

State Rep. James Tokioka, who also shares the Koloa district, said the landlord-tenant issue is sensitive as it relates to the six remaining plantation families. He attended several community discussions that eventually led to the county and state resolutions.

“Are we concerned about the residents living there? Absolutely,” Tokioka said.

The controversy began when Grove Farm Co. announced plans to build a new housing development on the grounds of Koloa Camp, followed by news that they would evict the six families still living there.

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