Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Musings: Getting Creative

A high school student recently emailed to ask if I would be her mentor on a senior project about creative writing. In contemplating her request, I began thinking of all the many ways, far more lucrative than fiction, that creative writing is employed when I happened upon a wondrous example of the craft at work.

It’s the draft Environmental Assessment prepared to help Secret Beach Properties — developed by Michele and Justin Hughes — get several after-the-fact permits. It seems the Hugheses got busted for building some two miles of lateral trails and two mauka-makai trails in the conservation district and Special Management Area at Kauapea Beach without state and county approval. And now, four years later, they’re having to set things right.

The document maintains the fiction first contrived by the Hugheses and repeated by attorney Lorna Nishimitsu — the Hugheses hadn’t cut the trees that launched the investigation that led to the discovery of the illegal trails; they’d only “fixed up” old hippie trails to remove the trees they hadn’t cut, and the trails are used for maintenance purposes.

Of course, one look at the photos – scroll to page 92 of the draft EA — makes it quite clear that these trails are elaborate structures created not for maintenance or vegetation removal, but to give tourists renting the pricey vacation rentals the Hugheses built on ag land their own private access to what is marketed as a “very private Secret Beach.”

The author of the draft EA then embellishes the tale quite a bit, and introduces some humor, by writing:

To assist in the agricultural operations, several mauka-makai trails were established for the planting, maintenance, and harvesting of tropical flowers and other ornamental plants.

Now, if you’ve ever been to Kauapea Beach, you’d know that flowers and ornamental foliage would never survive on that steep, salt-drenched bluff, and not even fake farmers like the Hugheses would be foolish enough to try.

There’s more creativity to be found when the draft EA gets to the part where the trails will benefit the public by allowing emergency responders to more quickly access the beach. Never mind that there’s actually a vehicular access not far away, and I imagine it would be favored over steep stairs by fire trucks and ambulances.

My favorite part, however, is to be found near the end, where the document’s author gives corporations a degree of personhood that even the U.S. Supreme Court might not have envisioned:

Existing and proposed improvements will allow Secret Beach Properties, LLC to walk, police, and maintain the Property.

And there you have it.

Those are the “people” who now own so much of our coastline and benefit from the mini resorts built upon it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Joan.

The Hughes' piss me off to no end. I hope they get busted big time and have to pay triple damages or more! Their arrogance just makes me angry!

Anonymous said...

This sets a bad precedent if people do something without getting the appropriate approvals beforehand. The requests should be denied on this basis alone.

The access for emergency personnel is not a valid argument since the county helicopter is now faster.

The steps should be removed, trees and shrubs should be replanted, and the Hughes should pay a large fine.

Anonymous said...

fine already paid - check the minutes

Anonymous said...

God forbid someone be allowed to put some trails or cut some trees on their own property. The control freaks on this island are out of control.

Anonymous said...

"the Hughes should pay a large fine"

They did, last year when they were fined by the DLNR.

Anonymous said...

"The steps should be removed, trees and shrubs should be replanted"

No, leave it, where is the public access from Kilauea to Secrets?

Anonymous said...

It was not a large fine.

Anonymous said...

If it's conservation and ag, how do they vacation rental? And the county hasn't given out the permits yet, so again they are illegally doing what is clearly not permitted. its BS, fines are not enough

Anonymous said...

"It was not a large fine.

March 9, 2011 4:28 PM"

This was not a large fine.

How much was it?

Anonymous said...

I believe and correct me if I am wrong, but the Hughes were responsible for the paid goons that would stalk naked women sunbathers and threaten them with arrest and fines.

Dr. Shibai

Anonymous said...

Dr. Did they owned it at that time?

when did this occur?

Joan Conrow said...

As I reported back on Aug. 3, Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands recommending setting the fine at $7,500 (maximum is $15,000), Ron Agor tried and failed to get it reduced to $3,500 and finally the BLNR voted to set it at $7,500, with Ron opposed.

And Dr. Shibai, you need no correcting. The Hughes were indeed instrumental in hiring the security guards, with some of their neighbors also chipping in.

Anonymous said...

$7500 is pocket change from their million dollar properties. This development is illegal and the proper course of action is to revert it back to what it was. Otherwise, they will consider $7500 the price of adding beach access. How many more illegal violations will they be able to pay their way through? Who else are they going to buy to get their way?

We want justice, and justice cannot be bought. I urge the powers that be to deny their retroactive permits. What they've done is just not right.

Anonymous said...

God forbid someone be allowed to put some trails or cut some trees on their own property. You people are fascists.

Anonymous said...

There are thousands of building code violations on Kauai. The "Locals" have no problem with these.Different rules for different fools...once again "You can't fix stupid"

Anonymous said...

We want justice, and justice cannot be bought

if you really cared - you can make your voice heard - this is the draft, in other words, look at this as an opportunity.

irk said...

lots of illegal trails to Kauapea. one trail the developer gave to county was refused by the county (lawsuit shy Max Graham) and subsequently that 15 foot wide path to third beach (the old trail) was purchased by adjacent owner Benjy Garfinkel of Blazer Enterprises, Inc. for ten dollars. our only hope now lies in the right of way that Kilauea Sugar Co. gave to the U.S. Coast Guard. use it or lose it.

Anonymous said...

"our only hope now"

your only hope now is to have your voice heard - stop whining, start writing.

Anonymous said...

btw - NOT ONE letter has been received by the OCCL or the consultant as of today - 3/31/11 -

--so glad to see so many people that say they care do absolutely nothing about it.

Attend the KNA meeting next Tuesday night - or don't do anything but definitely complain about it later.

Anonymous said...

be sure to write in after the deadline so your voice will NOT be heard.

This is your opportunity to do something, instead of bitching and moaning about everything, DO SOMETHING.