Hanelei Bay, Kauai (photo by Malia Zimmerman)
Hanelei Bay, Kauai (photo by Malia Zimmerman)

BY ROBERT THOMAS – If you need another reminder of what land use and zoning law looks like on Kauai in practice (and, in turn, in Hawaii generally), see this article, Hanalei vs. Hanalei in The Garden Island newspaper. It’s about aproposal to develop a new resort that (not surprisingly) is “meeting staunch opposition from a rapidly growing group of people.”

The developer side has its own view, touting the proposed resort as “the most environmentally and culturally responsible visitor-oriented project ever to be proposed in the state.” The story reports that one of the project’s backers is “billionaire and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar,” so that could make this a very interesting development instead of the usual enviros vs developer scenario, since Omidyar, according to at least one of the project’s opponents “has the right mind,” and “right heart” to donate at least part of the land to preserve a viewplane.

The situation is shaping up as a microcosm of the development process in Hawaii, and the article is well worth a read.

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Robert H. Thomas is one of the preeminent land use lawyers in Hawaii. He specializes in land use issues including regulatory takings, eminent domain, water rights, and voting rights cases. He has tried cases and appeals in Hawaii, California, and the federal courts. Robert received his LLM, with honors, from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his JD from the University of Hawaii School of Law where he served as editor of the Law Review. Robert taught law at the University of Santa Clara School of Law, and was an exam grader and screener for the California Committee of Bar Examiners. He currently serves as the Chair of the Condemnation Law Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on State & Local Government Law. He is the Hawaii member of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of the most experienced eminent domain and property rights lawyers. Membership in OCA is by invitation only, and is limited to a single attorney from each state. Robert is also the Managing Attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation Hawaii Center, a non-profit legal foundation dedicated to protecting property rights and individual liberties. Reach him at rht@hawaiilawyer.com He is also a frequent speaker on land use and eminent domain issues in Hawaii and nationwide. For a list of upcoming events and speaking engagements.