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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 4, 2006

Landfill rejection rouses Ma'ili

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer

Ma'ili residents are applauding the state Land Use Commission's refusal to consider a petition for a landfill in their neighborhood.

Sphere LLC, doing business as Pacific Aggregate, wants a special use permit for a proposed landfill for construction and demolition waste on 190 acres near Ma'ili Elementary School.

Area residents, who packed the Kapolei Hale meeting room Thursday with more than 150 people opposed to the application, said they will not sit idly by if Pacific Aggregate, or any other business operation, tries to put another landfill in Wai'anae.

"The Hawaiian culture is not to fight back, to not be confrontational," said Ma'ili resident Lily Cabinatan, noting that the island's two landfills are along the Wai'anae Coast. "That's going to stop."

Residents and area farmers have repeatedly raised concerns about odors, pollution and an increase in the number of trucks hauling debris to the landfills on the already congested four-lane Farrington Highway the only thoroughfare in and out of the coast.

Walterbea Aldeguer, who also lives in the neighborhood, said the matter is uniting residents. "People that usually wouldn't come together did so," Aldeguer said. "For this issue, we managed to band together. It's about stopping the landfills we really don't want in our community."

Aldeguer noted that in addition to Ma'ili Elementary, the proposed landfill is near a preschool, bible school and homes. "That's the main concern, it's the health risk," Aldeguer said, adding that safety issues would also arise with "heavy traffic from the trucks hauling the stuff."

LUC members, in making their decision, ruled that in January they did not receive adequate information from the city Planning Commission needed to take action. If Pacific Aggregate still wants to pursue the permit, it may appeal the LUC decision through the courts, return to the Planning Commission to address the concerns raised by LUC members, or re-apply altogether, according to Anthony Ching, LUC executive officer.

Pacific Aggregate president Lawrence Wilderman, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, told other media on Thursday that he would continue to press for the project. A call to Pacific Aggregate attorney Roger Moseley also was not returned.

Said Aldeguer: "We'll just have to be vigilant, be maka'ala (alert) and watch for when they apply again."

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com.