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Friday, November 17, 2023
Telling Evening News Anchors What to Say: Carpenters Union Wages War Against Affordable Modular Housing on Kauai
By News Release @ 4:59 AM :: 5587 Views :: Kauai County, Development, Labor, Cost of Living

How to Kill Affordable House-Building: Carpenters Union Dictates Evening News Script

(EDITOR’s NOTE: The Carpenters Union and its allies spend a lot of money on TV ads.  Can they also tell the news anchors what to say in order to trick the public into opposing affordable house building methods which impinge ever so slightly on Carpenters Union jobs?)

News Release from PRP, Nov 16, 2023  (NOTE: PRP is controlled by the Carpenters Union.) 

We are providing the following update to the news release issued on Nov. 2:

As of this morning, HPM Building Supply continues to operate despite a Notice of Violation and cease and desist order issued by the Kaua‘i County Department of Planning on Oct. 23. The Notice of Violation was issued to HPM for operating a truss manufacturing facility within the Agriculture Zoning District without the proper zoning permit(s).

As noted in the Notice of Violation (attached), HPM Building Supply faces a fine of $10,000 with “additional civil fines of $10,000 per day for each day in which the violation persists.”

A suggested VO script is attached for broadcasters. Please click on the link below to download B-roll of the HPM site (no credit required).

   *   *   *   *   *

HPM NOV and Cease and Desist Order – Suggested VO Script

11.16.2023

[ANCHOR]

A company that builds housing components continues to operate on Kaua‘i despite being ordered to cease all activity after it was found to be operating without a required permit.

------VO------

[CHYRON: Old Kōloa Sugar Mill, Kaua‘i]

The Kaua‘i Planning Department issued a notice of violation and a cease and desist order on October 23rd after it discovered HPM Building Supply did not have a permit to operate on ag land near the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill.

Kaua‘i County says HPM’s truss manufacturing facility is not an acceptable use within the Agriculture Zoning District and all operations must stop immediately.

Despite the possibility of fines of $10-thousand dollars per day if manufacturing activities continue, HPM was still operating the truss manufacturing site as of today.

HPM’s use of land near the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill was opposed by Pacific Resource Partnership, which represents Hawaii’s unionized carpenters and hundreds of general contractors, as well as two community groups – Save Koloa and Friends of Maha‘ulepu.

[TRT=:36+5]

  *   *   *   *   *

Statement from HPM Building Supply

November 16, 2023

HPM Building Supply has heard that the same press release from Nov. 2 is re-circulating today from the Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP) about the notice of violation that the County of Kaua‘i and HPM are currently engaged in resolving.

On Nov. 8, 2023, ahead of the Nov. 9 deadline, HPM Building Supply submitted a written response and proposed remedial action plan to the First Notice of Violation issued by the County of Kaua‘i regarding HPM’s truss and wall panel facility in Kōloa. HPM is continuing to work with the County of Kaua‘i to resolve the notice of violation.

  *   *   *   *   *

STATEMENT FROM HPM

November 3, 2023

HPM Building Supply has been working collaboratively with the County of Kaua‘i and community since 2021 to respond to the need for trusses to construct more affordable housing for residents. We have been building trusses openly and honestly in existing buildings consistent with the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill’s light industrial designation under the Kaua‘i General Plan and the South Kaua‘i Community Plan and other current industrial uses in the area.

We believe that our current use is a legal continuing use of the mill facilities. We are currently working with the County of Kaua‘i to resolve the notice of violation. We plan to provide the County with a response as requested within the allotted 15 calendar days of our receipt of the notice.

As a company with deep kama‘āina roots that has been responding to community needs for more than 100 years, HPM has always operated with integrity. Our intention from the start has always been to be in compliance with the County’s requirements while we seek to provide products and solutions for the construction industry to build more housing that is affordable for local people.

  *   *   *   *   *

KAUA‘I COUNTY ISSUES NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND CEASE AND DESIST ORDER FOR UNPERMITTED ACTIVITY BY HPM

News Release from Pacific Resource Partnership Nov 3, 2023

(With accuracy-inducing comments in parenthesis.)

HONOLULU, HI – The Kaua‘i Planning Department (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Carpenters Union) has issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Maha‘ulepu Farm LLC (Maha‘ulepu Farm) after an inspection of an HPM Building Supply (HPM) truss manufacturing site (which has been there for years) located near the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill was (ahem, suddenly) found to be operating illegally. The notice of violation was issued on Oct. 23 after the Planning Department concluded the HPM “truss manufacturing facility is not a generally permitted use within the Agriculture Zoning District (and) operation of a truss manufacturing facility within the Agriculture Zoning District without the proper zoning permit(s) constitutes a violation.”

(TRANSLATION: The Carpenters Union is shutting down panelized house building by HPM. Homes are therefore less affordable.)

The notice of violation includes an order for HPM to immediately cease and desist all unpermitted activities. HPM’s illegal truss manufacturing facility could result in the Kaua‘i Planning Department issuing an initial fine of $10,000 with the possibility of accruing additional civil fines of $10,000 per day for each day operations continue. In fact, as of Oct. 30, HPM was still operating the truss manufacturing facility in direct violation of the Planning Department’s cease and desist order.

(QUESTION: Were you fooled when the Carpenters Union pretended to end its opposition to panelized construction after the Lahaina Fires?  Sucker.)

HPM’s actions on Kaua‘i are particularly troubling since HPM knew permits were required to operate a truss manufacturing facility in the Agricultural Zoning District.  (It used to be a sugar mill.)  Previously, the company obtained permits to operate at a neighboring site that was also located within the Agricultural Zoning District, but those permits were eventually revoked (by order of the Carpenters Union).   Indeed, on Feb. 4, 2022, HPM submitted an application to the Kaua‘i Planning Commission for the required permits to conduct the same truss manufacturing operation on a property next door to the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill. Although HPM’s permits were originally approved by the commission, they were later vacated by Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe (the Carpenters Union). Instead of seeking approval of additional permits as required by law, HPM set up shop at the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill and began operating a truss manufacturing facility without the Planning Commission’s approval. HPM's truss manufacturing site is located on property owned by Maha‘ulepu Farm.

“HPM’s operations at the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill were clearly in violation of the law, so the issuance of a notice of violation and a cease and desist order with the possibility of severe fines was the correct step to take,” said Pacific Resource Partnership Government Relations Manager Chris Delaunay.   (PRP=Carpenters Union) “PRP and community members (pro-tourism anti-dairy farm activists) raised concerns during a Sept. 12 public meeting before the Planning Commission that HPM’s operations violated the law, which sparked an investigation by the county. Pacific Resource Partnership thanks the Kaua‘i Planning Department for issuing a notice of violation and cease and desist order, which sends a clear message to companies wanting to do business in Kaua‘i that no one is above the law (Carpenters Union).”

In August, Pacific Resource Partnership filed a petition with the Kaua‘i Planning Commission that sought a declaratory order that HPM was operating illegally on ag land located near the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill. The Kaua‘i Planning Department then issued a notice of violation and cease and desist order on Oct. 23 to stop HPM’s unpermitted activities. Other individuals and organizations, like (pro-tourism activists) Friends of Maha‘ulepu and Save Kōloa, have also opposed the HPM truss manufacturing site.

“Kōloa doesn't need and would not be helped by large double and triple axle trucks driving through our small town, loaded with lumber and forklifts headed for an operation on ag land in the old sugar cane mill,” said Elizabeth Okinaka of Save Kōloa. “HPM has been illegally using this ag land without any permits, operating saws and noisy air guns as they build trusses and modular walls (which reduce construction costs). What we need is for Grove Farm to bring back our small farmers, who used to lease their land to increase our food sustainability after sugar ended (more Hollywood or Silicon Valley types to move here.  They can afford the Carpenters Union.  Those who can’t should move to Vegas.)”

“One wonders if we are part of the wild west,” added Bridget Hammerquist, president of the community group Friends of Maha‘ulepu. “HPM’s activities at the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill do not support agriculture and are considered illegal on land zoned for agriculture. Now that a notice of violation and cease and desist order have been issued by the county’s Planning Department, we hope that all of HPM’s illegal operations in Kōloa will end.”

(‘Support agriculture’?  Friends of Maha‘ulepu is the group that blocked construction of a dairy farm on Kauai.)

# # #

About Pacific Resource Partnership

Founded in 1987, Pacific Resource Partnership is a nonprofit organization that represents the Hawai‘i Regional Council of Carpenters, the largest construction union in the state with approximately 6,000 members, in addition to more than 240 diverse contractors ranging from mom-and-pop owned businesses to national companies. Pacific Resource Partnership is the backbone of Hawai‘i’s construction industry and you’ll find us on every island, building homes and businesses, creating neighborhoods and revitalizing communities, strengthening infrastructure, and shaping the face of things to come. In executing its vision for a better Hawai‘i, Pacific Resource Partnership focuses on “People, Relationships and Promise” – we are PRP.

---30--- 

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