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MAYOR: NANAKULI WANTS A REGIONAL PARK, NOT ANOTHER LANDFILL

(Mon., July 19, 2010)—Mayor Mufi Hannemann today said allegations that the city is “shutting down Oahu’s only construction and demolition landfill” are patently false, and that the Nanakuli community clearly prefers that a new regional park be established on the property in question.

            “The landowner is selling a bill of goods to make people think that we’re closing a landfill,” Hannemann said. “There is no landfill on that property to shut down, and the owner has not obtained the necessary zoning change, permits or environmental clearances to ever establish a landfill there. Furthermore, the Nanakuli community would never stand for it.”

            Hannemann noted that the Leeward Coast does not currently have a large regional park like those found in several other parts of Oahu. The Leeward community has expressed both a strong preference for a new park on the Nanakuli site and emphatic opposition to the establishment of a new landfill there.

            “This community said they want a regional park,” Hannemann said. “This didn’t come from the Mayor’s Office. It came from the community.”

            The site is well-suited for a regional park because it is large, flat and accessible from Farrington Highway, he said.

            Hannemann noted that his administration has clearly indicated for years that it strongly opposes any new landfills on the Leeward Coast.

            In a statement released to the news media, an attorney for the property owner, Leeward Land Co., Ltd., said the company filed a lawsuit today “to prevent the Mayor from shutting down Oahu’s only construction and demolition landfill.”

            That statement later admitted, however, that the existing construction debris landfill in Nanakuli is located on an adjacent site, which is owned by a different company. The statement said this existing landfill is expected to close some time in the future because it will run out of space—not because of any action by the city.

The statement said that Leeward Land’s “plan has been to in phases move the operation across Lualualei Naval Road to the adjacent Leeward Land property.” In other words, the company hopes to establish a new landfill on a different piece of property. The company has not done so, and has not obtained the necessary approvals to do so.

            The Mayor emphasized that there is no clear indication that such a plan to create a new landfill would ever be approved, and he sharply disputed the company’s claim that the property is worth $100 million.

            “It is ridiculous to say it is worth $100 million,” Hannemann said. “It is zoned for agriculture, they would have to change the zoning or obtain other land use entitlements to improve the value of that land, and that includes many regulatory hurdles and public hearings. They are being very disingenuous with the Nanakuli community, and I would invite the media to go to Nanakuli and ask the people there how they feel about this issue.”

            He said he had not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit filed today, but was very confident that the city has handled the issue appropriately.

A study commissioned by the city’s Department of Environmental Services is expected to be completed by August of 2011, and will examine potential sites for construction debris and municipal solid waste landfills outside the Leeward Coast.

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Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928