By Andy Yamaguchi
HONOLULU – Four citizens’ groups are questioning whether the developer of Hawaii Kai should be allowed to continue stockpiling boulders and dirt in the Queen’s Beach area.
The car-sized boulders, a familiar sight to Kalanianaole Highway travelers near Sandy Beach, have been there since 1973. They were unearthed during construction of the nearby Hawaii Kai suburb, said Bina Chun, spokeswoman for developer Bedford Properties.
Bedford, formerly known as Kaiser Development Co., will use the boulders as fill material if it develops the 210-acre Queen’s Beach site, Chun said.
Now four citizens’ groups – the Sandy Beach Initiative Coalition, Friends of Queen’s Beach, Sand Beach Defense Fund and Ka Iwi Scenic Shoreline Park Committee – say no one knows how the dumping of 350,000 cubic yards of boulders and dirt has affected the coastal plain there.
The groups are asking the city to require an environmental impact statement from Bedford before deciding whether to issue Bedford a new stockpiling permit. They also want the city to hold public hearings.
Robin Foster, environmental branch chief at the City Department of Land Utilization, said a decision of the EIS requirement will be made probably within two weeks.
Sandy Beach Coalition spokesman Tom Grande yesterday said the city should weigh the consequences of leaving the boulders there versus removing them.
“It just makes good sense to require an assessment of what Bedford has done and what will happen if a Special Management Area permit is denied,” Grande said in a written statement.
Shirley Lum, Friends of Queen’s Beach president, said the area “was known to be botanically, historically and archaeologically valuable…..”
An environmental assessment – less stringest that an EIS – submitted by Bedford said EIs should be required because “no impact is foreseen since the proposal is to leave the land undisturbed for the time being….”
Chun called it a non-issue.
“The boulders have been there for 15 years,” she said. “To say we’re now trying to get away with something is ridiculous.”
The city’s Foster said Bedford obtained its original grading permit in 1973 and stockpiling permit in 1975.
Since then the state has enacted its Coastal Zone Management Act, and in 1987 the city ruled that Bedford would have to obtain an SMA permit in accordance with that act if it wished to maintain its stockpile at Queen’s Beach.
contact Mark Davis