Thursday, January 20, 2011


CIRCLE GAMED: It seemed too good to be true when those who have been fighting to keep the alaloa at Lepe`uli (Larson’s) Beach informed us that, through his attorney Lorna Nishimitsu, Bruce Laymon said he was surrendering his Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) and apparently would not be fencing off the ancient trail, denying easy access to the shoreline.

But there it was in black and white. And when the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) made it official at its meeting in Honolulu a week ago the activists couldn’t believe all their hard work had paid off.

But guess what- as if you haven’t already?

Yesterday the calls and emails started flowing in saying that Laymon had begun clearing and fencing off the alaloa anyway.

According to a email from Hope Kallai of Malama Moloa`a, Laymon is “actively preparing to fence in the area of the alaloa.”

Laymon has already “brushhogged dunes 2 weeks ago (before the surrender)” according to Kallai and she cites an informed source who spoke to Laymon who told her Laymon is “planning to remove all the ironwoods and plant grass.”

Kallai also says that the harassment has begun again and that “(p)ig hunters were shooting this weekend towards the beach. Beach goers were discussing caliber size not wave height.”

And while Kallai could not be reached for further clarification today, others who phoned told us that the fencing work has actually begun.

But how could that be?

Kallai says that “(t)he ‘victory’ was all smoke” and that apparently Nishimitsu is claiming that the conservation district ends makai of the alaloa.

In her letter to the BLNR surrendering the CDUP Nishimitsu cryptically wrote:

Paradise Ranch has been waiting far too long to fence the makai section of its leased lands to expand its pasture area and needs to attend to confining its livestock while providing it the best forage possible.

The contested case before the BLNR was going to rest in small part on past contentions from Nishimitsu and Laymon about the actual location of the alaloa that have since been shown to be false. But thus far there had never been a contention that the alaloa did not rest in the conservation district and, rather, was in the state Agricultural District.

But while how the BLNR will react and how the determination of the conservation district boundary will be made isn’t yet clear, there is another, more local apparent violation- that of the “over the counter” or “minor” Shoreline Management Area (SMA) Permit Laymon has to do the clearing and fencing.

The SMA is a federal provision under the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Act that is administered by the county under state law. And any work done in the SMA- which many times exceeds the reach of the state conservation district as it apparently does in this case- no matter how minor, must have an SMA permit.

A “minor” SMA permit is different from a regular SMA in that it is not determined by the planning commission which would call for staff reports and public hearings but is issued “over the counter” based on representations to department staff. And the main determining factor for whether a “minor” SMA can be issued is the cost of the work to be done in the SMA area.

And that cost, last we checked, is $125 or less.

Of course there’s no way in hell the cost of the clearing and fencing operations are that low but a complaint must be filed and the department staff must ascertain the truth of the matter.

While it should be pointed out that we haven’t been able to actually see the operation and haven’t been able to independently verify what is going on at Lepe`uli with Laymon or Nishimitsu, multiple sources apparently confirm each others’ stories.

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