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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, October 26, 2002

Kona judge faults state and county

Advertiser Staff

A Big Island judge has ruled that the state and county failed in their duty to protect the ocean when two massive runoffs fouled the near-shore waters off the Hokuli'a luxury housing project two years ago.

Kona Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra ruled this week that laws and permit requirements protecting the ocean were not enforced during the early days of construction at the Kona development on 1,500 acres upslope of Kealakekua.

The court action was part of a lawsuit filed by four Kona residents opposed to the development.

Gary Gill, deputy director of the state Health Department, disagreed with the ruling, saying the state made sure the developer took measures to prevent runoff.

He also said that when the runoffs occurred, the state responded immediately and took enforcement action against the developer.

The judge ordered the state and county to determine the value of undisturbed waters and natural resources before issuing any more permits to the developer.

He also ordered the Health Department to protect the resources off the development.

Gill said no decision has been made whether to appeal Ibarra's ruling.