Saturday, June 15, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, January 18, 2013
Hawaii Supreme Court to Hear Another Shoreline Case
By Robert Thomas @ 9:34 PM :: 6997 Views :: Judiciary, Land Use

Another HAWSCT Shoreline Cert Grant

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation

The Hawaii Supreme Court has accepted certiorari and agreed to review the Intermediate Court of Appeals' unpublished memorandum opinion in Diamond v. Dobbin, No. 30572 (Aug. 31, 2012). The Supreme Court's order is here.

It's another beach case, this time involving a shoreline certification. Shoreline certifications approved by the State Department of Land and Natural Resources are used as the baseline from which to measure building setbacks on littoral parcels, and do not involve the boundary between public and private property on beaches. The DLNR certified the shoreline on a Kauai parcel, and two nearby residents who claimed the shoreline was further mauka (landward) administratively appealed to the Board of Land and Natural Resources. The Board rejected the appeal and approved the certification, and the two neighbors appealed to the circuit court under the Hawaii Administrative Procedures Act.

The circuit court concluded the BLNR's findings of fact were wrong, and vacated the certification. The property owner who sought the certification appealed to the ICA, which reversed, holding that the circuit court exceeded its authority under HAPA by engaging "in unwarranted fact finding and weighing of the evidence."

The Supreme Court's order does not provide any details about what issues the court is considering. But here are the briefs submitted on the cert application:

Petitioners' Application for a Writ of Certiorari (Dec. 3, 2012)

Respondents Dobbin and Wagner Engineering Services, Inc.'s Response to Application (Dec. 17, 2012)

State of Hawaii BLNR's Response to Application (Dec. 18, 2012)

The Application states three questions (and we're paraphrasing here):

Whether the ICA "gravely erred"* because it did not apply Paul's Elec. Services, Inc. v. Befitel, 104 Haw. 412, 91 P.3d 494 (2004), a case clarifying the degree of deference courts owe to administrative agency determinations? Here, a determination of the location of the certified shoreline.

Did the ICA err interpreting and applying Diamond v. State of Hawaii, 112 Haw. 161, 145 P.3d 704 (2006) with respect to the BLNR's determination of the location of the certified shoreline?

Was the circuit court's judgment mooted by the BNLR filing an amended decision?

Here's the crux: the petitioners are arguing that the courts owe little or no deference to the BNLR's shoreline determination in this case (and presumably others) because it is based on a:

"preference" for the use of the "current" season's high surf over other relevant evidence of the upper reaches of the wash of the waves, including the use of historical evidence, and in this case, the State surveyor's prior recommendation of October 19, 2005, conflicts with the manifest purpose of the state it seeks to implement...

App. for Cert. at 9 (emphases original). So in the petitioners' view, because the BLNR arbitrarily and capriciously has a preference for using one measurement, the circuit court was correct when it reweighed the evidence in the agency record, because that is more consistent with the statute than the BLNR's "preference." Boy, talk about burying your lede.

As mere interested observers on this one, we hope the court uses this case as an opportunity to at least clarify that "certified shorelines" under state statutes is a completely different ball of wax than the boundary between public and private property on littoral land, even though the defintions are awfully similar and thus often confused. We'll also see whether the court imposes some order on the certification process, which is, as this case illustrates, unnecessarily time-consuming and confusing, given it is merely a baseline from which to measure building setbacks. It really does not determine public rights, and is more about protecting the property owner's structures from erosion.

Or will this be yet another decision to add to Professor Callies' list?

Note: the Hawaii Supreme Court's discretionary docket is primarily filled with cert review cases in which the standard of review asks whether the ICA "gravely erred." That's very broad language, and as discussed at a recent HSBA Appellate Section session, this means the lower court really, really went off the rails, or, more importantly we suspect here, that the Supreme Court is really, really interested in the issue for whatever reason (as one retired justice said -- and again, we're paraphrasing from memory here -- it's her or his pet issue).

 

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii