LIHUE — Jeff Stone, developer of the proposed Princeville Lodge, has withdrawn the project’s shoreline setback application.
“The county requested that we withdraw the application to get rules and procedures in order for an appeals process,” Stone said. “There wasn’t an appeal process for citizens, so we were asked to withdraw until those rules could be put in place.”
The application was filed in December because Princeville Development Company needed an exemption since the development is proposed to be built on a rocky substrate on a ridge above Hanalei Bay.
At build-out, Princeville Lodge will have 80, two-story luxury hotel units and a clubhouse.
Withdrawing the shoreline setback application doesn’t mean the project has been pulled entirely. Rather, Stone is waiting until the county puts together an appeals process.
Once that’s been decided he, along with the owners, Ohana Hanalei, LLC, will decide how to move forward.
“I’ve been working with them for two years for something that is community friendly,” Stone said.
As part of the development, public access to the property will be maintained. Additionally, it won’t intrude on the Kamo‘omaika‘i Fishpond or extend to the Hanalei River side of the ridge.
But some North Shore residents have spoken out against the project, saying Hanalei and its surroundings are already filled to the brim with tourists.
Makaala Kaaumoana and Carl Imparato, members of the nonprofit Hanalei Watershed Hui, are planning to challenge Stone in court.
The group hasn’t hired a lawyer for any potential court proceedings, but they did hire attorney Harold Bronstein for the Planning Commission meetings.
“We did retain and were represented by one of the best shoreline protection attorneys around, Harold Bronstein, and were committed to take the matter as far as needed,” Imparato said.
Previously, Mike Dahilig, planning director, granted the exemption, and his decision was appealed by the Hanalei Watershed Hui and other North Shore groups.
At Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, Bronstein and Adam Roversi, who represents the County of Kauai, discussed what the withdrawal meant moving forward.
“The applicant withdrew their application for a shoreline setback determination. Subsequent to that, we got a supplemental letter from the planning director withdrawing his determination,” Roversi said. “Given the withdrawal of the application and the vacating of the director’s decision, there is no longer a matter to be adjudicated.”
During the meeting, Bronstein said Roversi’s version of the events aren’t accurate, and he wanted to make sure the record is clear of what occurred.
“That’s the order I believe should be entered by this body in dismissing the matter.”
Imparato said the group wanted Dahilig to acknowledge that he rescinded his decision to grant the exemption.
If that acknowledgment isn’t made, it could set a bad precedent, Imparato added.
Dahilig said the parties that appealed the shoreline setback determination raised issues concerning whether a proper process was in place to implement the new shoreline law adopted in 2015.
“The department has always maintained that having a clear process going into any contested case hearing is imperative,” Dahilig said. “We made this position known to the applicant, but ultimately it was their business decision to withdraw their shoreline setback application.”
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the motion to dismiss the appeal of the director’s exemption determination for the shoreline setback determination.
“There is nothing before us right now,” said Commissioner Sean Mahoney.
Commissioner Wade Lord said he doesn’t want to be in the business of creating precedents.
“It’s pretty straightforward to me,” he said.