Court strikes down Kauai charter amendment

LIHUE — After four months of consideration, the County of Kauai announced Friday it would not seek a second appeal of a high court decision against a charter amendment.

On June 28, Federal judge Leslie Kobayashi of the U.S. District Court, Hawaii District, issued a decision invaliding a 2008 amendment to the charter that added a new Section 3.19 to implement the 2000 Kauai General Plan. This was the second time in six years that a Hawaii court invalidated the voter-initiated amendment to the county charter.

The amendment, which was authored by a citizens group called the Coalition for Responsible Government, sought to shift the authority to issue zoning, use, subdivision, or variance permits for more than one “Transient Accommodation Unit” from the planning commission to the county council.

It also would have allowed the council to shift the authority back to the planning commission upon enactment of an ordinance to limit the growth rate of transient accommodation units.

The amendment was approved by voters in the Nov. 4, 2008, general election, and the enabling legislation, Ordinance No. 912, was passed by the county council in November 2011.


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