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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2002

Panel delays decision on chapel liquor license

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Honolulu Liquor Commission yesterday agreed to delay a decision on granting a liquor license to a Makapu'u wedding chapel until legal issues can be resolved.

Gloria Bridal Services has requested a license to sell alcoholic beverages at the St. Catalina Seaside chapel. The drinks will be primarily for wedding toasts but also would be available for receptions.

The commission on April 4 failed to muster the three votes needed to approve the application. But under state law, the license would be granted automatically because of the panel's failure to take action on the matter, said Deputy Corporation Counsel Paul Au, who represents the commission.

Au said the default approval would take effect 15 days after the commission formally adopted its decision from the April 4 meeting. The approval was to have taken place yesterday.

But many in the Waimanalo community who opposed the license disagreed with Au's interpretation of the law. Wilson Ho, chairman of the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board, said the law applies to development applications, not liquor licenses.

"Our initial research of this law tells us that it was made for rendering a decision concerning development or construction," Ho said. "Please tell me what 'commercial development' has to do with the Liquor Commission?"

Ho yesterday asked the commission to delay adopting its decision for 90 days to allow a "neutral" lawyer time to research the law. He suggested city prosecutor Peter Carlisle, whom Ho said he trusts.

The commission yesterday granted Ho's request, but said he had 30 days to persuade Carlisle to get involved in the case. Even if he did issue an opinion, it would not necessarily be binding on the commission because his office does not represent the panel.

While the commission granted Ho his request, it also denied a request for a new hearing by Waimanalo resident Jim Andrews.