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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 31, 2002

Liquor request resurfaces

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Gloria Bridal Services is asking the Honolulu Liquor Commission for permission to sell alcohol at its Makapu'u wedding chapel, one year after withdrawing a similar application because of community opposition.

The company operates wedding chapels in Kapahulu and at Sea Life Park in Makapu'u. Gloria Bridal has attempted to obtain liquor licenses at both locations, but strong opposition led to the rejection of a request at the Kapahulu chapel and a withdrawal at the other.

In December 2000, Gloria Bridal officials said it would not seek other options to sell alcohol, including through an existing license held by Sea Life Park. The owner, a spokesman said at the time, did not plan on serving any liquor at the chapel.

But that position has changed and Gloria Bridal again has applied for a restaurant general license, which also would allow live entertainment, recorded music and dancing. The commission will hold a preliminary hearing today at 4 p.m.

Wayne Luke, attorney for Gloria Bridal, declined to comment yesterday on why the firm changed its mind.

The application caught Waimanalo leaders by surprise. Waimanalo Neighborhood Board chairman Wilson Ho said he was under the impression that Gloria Bridal would meet with the community if the company decided to reapply for a license.

Ho also said Gloria Bridal must show that there is a significant change in circumstances since the first application before the commission can reconsider the application. The area's neighborhood board came out against the original request and once again will oppose Gloria Bridal's application.

"This is the same company applying for the same license," Ho said.

Ho said the board opposes the license because it does not want alcohol served at such a remote location as the chapel. He cited the 1988 traffic accident in which five people were killed in a head-on collision near Makapu'u.

Bucky Lake, who was the driver of a speeding Trans Am that slammed into an oncoming van, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight to 10 years in prison. Lake was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

"We're opposed to alcohol, partying in such an isolated area and then sending the people off in both directions — Hawai'i Kai and Waimanalo," Ho said.

One of the problems cited by the board and Gloria Bridal was a lack of communication on the first request. But Ho said Gloria Bridal has not done anything to improve lines of communications.

"We've been kind of closed off. There hasn't been any type of communication with us," he said. "We knew they were coming back, we just didn't know when."