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Ewa Beach developer pushes forward with plans that prompted $27 million verdict


HONOLULU — A developer is pursuing plans for a recreational lagoon that prompted a $27 million verdict for area homeowners.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/1Wdj36d) a measure that rezones property between White Plains Beach and Oneula Beach Park is headed for the city's planning committee as Haseko Development Inc. continues to push its proposal.

Homeowners sued in July 2013, saying the company misled homeowners when it promised a marina and later switched course in favor of a recreational lagoon. The judgment was issued earlier this month.

Attorney Michael Green represented the 1,800 homeowners and says he doesn't think the city will let the company move forward.

"I frankly don't think the Council is going to let them do it," Green said. "The entire community was based on this marina concept. (But) the very hole that they dug for the marina is now filled with water for the lagoon."

Haseko's attorney Steven Chung says he will ask the court to set the $27 million judgment aside. He argues there is a lack of evidence proving liability or damage, and that juries cannot award punitive damages in lawsuits that claim unfair or deceptive practices.

City Department of Planning and Permitting Director George Atta said in a statement Wednesday that the verdict does not affect the company's proposed plans.

"The recent court case was not about planning or zoning, but rather contractual agreements between a developer and those purchasing property from that developer," he said.

Haseko Vice President Sharene Saito said the verdict was about money, and that the company saw a greater potential for harm in leaving the project unfinished.

The company's plans include facilities like covered pavilions and a pedestrian pathway, which require a special permit and a setback variance to build within 60 feet of the shoreline.

Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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