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02 • 02 • 2021

Save Shark’s Cove!

VICTORY! Settlement protects sensitive North Shore area from overdevelopment.

On February 2, 2021, the final settlement agreement in the Save Shark's Cove Alliance v. Hanapohaku LLC and City and County of Honolulu was signed.  The settlement secures clean water improvements, land use protections, and increased transparency, monitoring and reporting of site conditions for the commercial development site at issue, directly adjacent to the precious marine environment at Shark's Cove on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.  The settlement agreement also provides that the City will impose a substantial $30,000 fine against the Developer for violations of the Special Management Area law and initiate several reforms to the City’s permitting process.

In 2019, the Save Shark's Cove Alliance's (SSCA) filed a public interest lawsuit against the City and County of Honolulu and the current developer Hanapohaku LLC. The lawsuit had two primary goals:

  1. To ensure that proper planning, permitting, and enforcement processes that protect the integrity and character of the community and the environment are transparent, robust, and fully followed; 
  2. To ensure that adequate environmental review and monitoring is properly completed and mitigation is fully in place prior to any development to avoid adverse significant and cumulative impacts on the community, culture, and environment.  

The Oahu Chapter joined the litigation in September 2019 to specifically focus on water quality at Sharks Cove due to concerns from runoff, polluted groundwater and litter brought by developer’s current activities on the site and the proposed increased development. Plaintiffs were also concerned about the development impacts on Shark's Cove, the Pūpūkea Beach Park, and the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District MLCD, and the community including: overuse of protected areas, litter, polluted surface and subsurface runoff, freshwater or ocean contamination, traffic congestion, risky pedestrian crossings of the highway, noise, and odors.

Surfrider Foundation and the environmental plaintiffs look forward to implementation of the settlement agreement and continued stewardship of this amazing coastal resource for the protection and enhancement of the Sharks Cove marine ecosystem.

Clean Water