(BIVN) – An outburst that resulted in an unplanned recess of the Hawaiʻi County Council on Tuesday was not enough to stop the advance of a bill to change the zoning of 37-acres of shoreline land in North Kohala.
The council planning committee gave a positive recommendation to Bill 141, which changes the district classification of the lands – located 3 miles north of Kawaihae Harbor on the makai side of Akoni Pule Highway – from single family residential to residential & agricultural. The change of zone will allow Kohala Shoreline LLC to subdivide the property into six lots to develop a residential subdivision. The application was already given a favorable recommendation by the Leeward Planning Commission.
During the committee meeting in Hilo, Hawaiian Kingdom advocate Gene Tamashiro spoke out on the title of the land. He was joined by the Kahoʻopiʻi ʻohana, who presented themselves as lineal descendants and heirs to the land.
“This portion land that we’re talking about right now, I didn’t know till now that my great-great-great grandmother was the owner of this land,” testified Albert Kahoʻopiʻi, a lifelong resident of Kohala. “This map that I have goes back to 1928. Now, I’m here to stand up for my rights – and my families – that nobody has the right to claim this land.”
The councilmembers appeared sympathetic towards Kahoʻopiʻi, but when Tamashiro interrupted Gregory Mooers, the land use consultant speaking on behalf of the Kohala Shoreline project, the council went into recess. The argument continued until Tamashiro left the council chamber.
Eventually, the committee voted to move the bill forward to the full council, after the developer’s representatives promised to work with the Kahoʻopiʻi family on any concerns over the cultural and natural resources found on the land.