Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Hawaii

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Court had discretion to permit government-condemnor to withdraw a portion of deposit of estimated just compensation. Three parcels of privately-owned property were condemned for a public park. In the owner’s appeal, the Supreme Court of Hawaii held that the presence or lack of physical unity is not dispositive of whether a condemnee is entitled to severance damages. A deposit of estimated just compensation does not become conditional, and blight of summons damages do not begin to accrue, when a condemning authority objects to a condemnee’s motion to withdraw funds based on the fact that the condemnee’s entitlement to such funds is unclear. The court in an eminent domain proceeding has discretion to permit a governmental entity to withdraw a portion of a deposit of estimated just compensation when the deposit has not been disbursed to the landowner, the government acted in good faith in seeking to adjust the estimate to accurately reflect the value of the property on the date of the summons, and the adjustment will not impair the substantial rights of any party in interest. View "County of Kauai v. Hanalei River Holdings Limited" on Justia Law

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Appellants, The Sierra Club and Senator Clayton Hee, challenged the Land Use Commission’s (LUC) reclassification of 1525 acres of Appellee D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes’ land from the agricultural state land use district to the urban state land use district. The circuit court affirmed the LUC’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and decision and order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the reclassification did not violate article XI, section 3 of the Hawai’i Constitution or Haw. Rev. Stat. 205-41 through -52; and (2) reliable, probative, and substantial evidence supported the LUC’s finding that the reclassification of the land at issue was consistent with the Hawai’i State Plan, would not substantially impair agricultural production, and was necessary for urban growth. View "Sierra Club v. D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, LLC" on Justia Law

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The University of Hawai’i at Hilo applied for approval from the Board of Land and Natural Resources (Board) to construct a thirty meter telescope on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai’i. Despite objections, the Board voted to approve the permit, subject to a number of conditions. The Board further directed that a contested case hearing be conducted and included a condition in the permit that no construction could be undertaken until the contested case hearing was resolved. After the contested case hearing, the hearing officer recommended that the permit be approved. The Board adopted that recommendation. The circuit court affirmed the Board’s action. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court and the permit issued by the Board, holding that, by voting on the permit before the contested case hearing was held, the Board violated the Hawai’i Constitution’s guarantee of due process. Remanded. View "Hou v. Bd. of Land & Natural Res." on Justia Law