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Sierra Club v. Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc., No. SCWC-11-0000625 (Haw. Dec. 23, 2013)

Sierra Club v. Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc., No. SCWC-11-0000625 (Haw. Dec. 23, 2013)

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Published by robert_thomas_5
Sierra Club v. Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc., No. SCWC-11-0000625 (Haw. Dec. 23, 2013)
Sierra Club v. Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc., No. SCWC-11-0000625 (Haw. Dec. 23, 2013)

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Published by: robert_thomas_5 on Dec 24, 2013
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*** FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST’S HAWAI
I REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER ***
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF HAWAI
I---o0o---SIERRA CLUB, Petitioner/Appellant-Appellee,vs.CASTLE & COOKE HOMES HAWAI
I, INC.; and THE LAND USE COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF HAWAI
I, Respondents/Appellees-Appellants,andOFFICE OF PLANNING, STATE OF HAWAI
I; DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING ANDPERMITTING; and NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 25, Respondents/Appellees-Appellees.SCWC-11-0000625CERTIORARI TO THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS(CAAP-11-0000625
; CIV. NO. 10-1-2424-11)
1
December 23, 2013NAKAYAMA, ACOBA, McKENNA, AND POLLACK, JJ., WITHRECKTENWALD, C.J., CONCURRING AND DISSENTING SEPARATELY
CAAP-11-0000627, CAAP-11-0000730, and CAAP-11-0000744 were
1
consolidated with CAAP-11-0000625 on November 16, 2011.
Electronically FiledSupreme CourtSCWC-11-000062523-DEC-201311:01 AM
 
 *** FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST’S HAWAI
I REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER ***
OPINION OF THE COURT BY POLLACK, J.This case requires us to consider whether the Hawai
iState Senate’s express rejection of a board member’s nominationfor a second term effectively disqualifies the member fromcontinuing to serve on the board and from voting on matters ofcritical importance to the community. On April 26, 2010, the Senate rejected Duane Kanuha’s(Kanuha) nomination for a second term as a commissioner on theRespondent/Appellee-Appellant
 
state Land Use Commission (LUC),based in part on the finding that Kanuha lacked the requisiteknowledge and experience to qualify as the designated member withexpertise on Hawaiian land usage. More than four months afterthe Senate’s rejection, Kanuha continued to participate in theLUC’s consideration of a significant development projectinvolving the reclassification of agricultural land for urbanuse. At that time, the Petitioner/Appellant-Appellee
 
Sierra Club(Sierra Club)
 
filed an action to disqualify Kanuha from servingon the LUC as of the date of his rejection and to invalidate anyactions Kanuha had taken with respect to the development project. The LUC denied the action and, that same day, deliberated on andvoted to approve the subject reclassification. Despite theSenate’s finding that he was unqualified to continue serving asan LUC member, Kanuha participated in the LUC’s vote and theLUC’s subsequent vote to approve the written findings,conclusions, and decision and order approving the project. The-2-
 
 *** FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST’S HAWAI
I REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER ***
decision and order would not have been approved without Kanuha’svote. For the reasons set forth herein, we conclude that inlight of the Senate’s rejection of Kanuha’s nomination for asecond term, Kanuha was not a valid holdover member of the LUCunder Hawai
i Revised Statutes (HRS) § 26-34 when he voted on thereclassification. Kanuha also did not qualify as a de factomember of the LUC given the Senate’s express rejection of hisnomination. Without Kanuha’s disqualified vote, the LUC lackedthe requisite number of votes to approve the reclassification. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Intermediate Court ofAppeals (ICA) and affirm the judgment of the Circuit Court of theFirst Circuit (circuit court). I.Kanuha was nominated by the governor for a four-yearterm as a LUC commissioner on April 12, 2005. 2005 SenateJournal, at 586 (Governor’s Message 630). His nomination wasconfirmed by the Senate on April 27, 2005. 2005 Senate Journal,at 770. On July 3, 2007, Respondent/Appellee-Appellant
 
Castle &Cooke Homes Hawai
i, Inc. (Castle & Cooke) filed a Petition forLand Use District Boundary Amendment with the LUC. Subsequentlyon May 16, 2008, Castle & Cooke filed an Amended Petition forLand Use District Boundary Amendment Verification-3-

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