Court affirms boatyard permit revocation

LIHUE — The state Intermediate Court of Appeals dealt a setback to the owner of a former North Shore commercial boatyard owner in his attempts to prove the County of Kauai had revoked his operation permit for a false purpose.

The ICA on Monday affirmed a 5th Circuit Court ruling in 2011, that found the county Planning Commission acted appropriately in 2010 when it revoked permits held by Michael Sheehan to operate a boatyard on property along the Hanalei River.

The county issued a press release to commend the decision and said it shows the Planning Commission’s revocation action was correct and in response to numerous permit violations that were investigated and validated by a hearings officer.

“We’re obviously very happy to prevail on this appeal and move forward with our vision of expanding Hanalei Black Pot Beach Park so that it is a facility that the entire community can enjoy,” stated Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr.

Michael Guard Sheehan, owner of Hanalei River Enterprises, Inc., a company that ran the boat landing adjacent to Black Pot Beach Park in Hanalei, could not to be reached for comment. His attorney Richard Wilson did not respond.

Sheehan’s four-year old federal case argues similar issues and was on hold pending the outcome of this appeal. He is seeking a federal takings claim of his operation by the Planning Commission.

The state appellate decision was to determine if the county violated a doctrine of futurity by taking his property for a stated purpose and then using it for another, Sheehan has said earlier. The county plan is to take over commercial tour boating, using a county parks “peddler and concessionaire ordinance” to hand pick commercial activity, he said. The county denied this claim, stating that Sheehan allowed unlicensed boating companies to use his boatyard.

The county now plans to include the parcels owned by Sheehan in a Hanalei Black Pot recreation area expansion and preserve the land from development, in accordance to the Holo Holo 2020 plans, together with other proposals for recreational use in the area.

The Kauai County Council approved the initiation of condemnation proceedings in January 2013. It transfers three of Sheehan’s riverfront parcels, including the parcel where the boatyard was operating. The Department of Parks and Recreation is negotiating with a consultant to lead a master plan process for the entire beach park that is expected to begin in 2015.

In November 2013, a 5th Circuit jury valued Sheehan’s property at $5.8 million, a million more than the county’s $4.6 million assessment, and less than Sheehan’s private one at $7.4 million. The jurors were charged with determining fair market value at its highest and best use in 2011.

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