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Wille v. Board of Land and Natural Resources

Supreme Court of Hawaii

September 4, 2013

MARGARET WILLE, Petitioner/Appellant-Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES; DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES; WILLIAM J. AILA, JR. in his official capacity as Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources; STATE OF HAWAI'I; and PARKER RANCH INC., Respondents/Appellees-Appellees.

CERTIORARI TO THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS (CAAP-12-0000496; CIV. NO. 11-1-202K)

Margaret Wille petitioner, pro se.

David M. Louie, Donna H. Kalama, Linda L.W. Chow, Cindy Y. Young for respondents BLNR, DLNR and William J. Aila, Jr.

Steven S.C. Lim, Jennifer A. Benck, Michael J. Scanlon, Edmund W.K. Haitsuka for respondent Parker Ranch Inc.

Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, and McKenna, JJ.; and Acoba, J. dissenting separately, with whom Pollack, J. joins)

ORDER REJECTING APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI

Petitioner/Appellant-Appellant Margaret Wille's application for writ of certiorari, filed July 21, 2013, is hereby rejected.

DISSENT BY ACOBA, J., WITH WHOM POLLACK, J., JOINS

I would accept the Application for Certiorari (Application) filed by Petitioner/Appellant-Appellant Margaret Wille (Wille), because it merits further review.[1] Respectfully, in denying certiorari, the majority fails to consider potential bases upon which the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (the court) would have subject matter jurisdiction over Wille's appeal, and upon which Wille had standing to bring a petition for a contested case hearing before the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR).

I.

A.

The property at issue in this appeal is located in Waimea, South Kohala. Three parcels of land are leased to Respondent/Appellee-Appellee Parker Ranch, Inc. (Parker Ranch), General Lease Nos. S-4464, S-4465, and S-4474. According to the petition filed by Wille with the BLNR, she lives at Tax Map Key No. (3)6-5-007:034, which is in close proximity to Tax Map Key No. (3) 6-5-001:020, one of the parcels under lease to Parker Ranch. The existing leases to Parker Ranch had been held for thirty-five years, and were set to expire on February 28, 2011. Pursuant to Hawai'i Revised Statutes (HRS) § 171-36 (Supp. 2005)[2], Parker Ranch requested that the BLNR extend the leases by twenty years.

During the BLNR's regularly scheduled meetings on February 11, 2011 and February 25, 2011, the Board considered the extension of the leases. The BLNR received oral and written testimony from members of the community. Wille indicated her opposition to the lease extension during her testimony on February 11, 2011. She stated that she was not opposed to Parker Ranch's continued use of the land, but asked for a multi-use plan rather than a single-use plan for the land. During her testimony, she also stated that "in the event the Board approves this lease as requested by Parker Ranch, I plan to appeal. Pursuant to [Hawai'i Administrative Rules (HAR)] § 13-1-29, please therefore consider this as my request for a contested case hearing on this matter made prior to the close of the February 11, 2011 Board meeting." The BLNR unanimously approved the lease extensions.

Following the approval, Wille submitted a Petition for a Contested Case Hearing (Petition) to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Administrative Proceedings Office. Wille stated in the Petition that the BLNR's action would affect her interest inasmuch as she "would like to have access [to] the pu'u of Kohala mountains up to the reserve forest -- to hike for pleasure and health." She also stated that she had "a cultural-a[e]sthetic interest in not being surrounded by a place of extraordinary beauty that is bordered by 'no trespassing signs, ' especially where these places are of historic and cultural significance." The BLNR unanimously agreed to deny Wille's Petition.

On June 9, 2011, Wille filed a Notice of Appeal and Statement of the Case with the court. As a basis for jurisdiction in the court, Wille cited, inter alia, HRS § 91-14(a) (Supp. 2004)[3] and her status as a beneficiary of the public lands trust under article XII, section 4 of the Hawai'i Constitution[4]. Parker Ranch filed its Answer to Wille's Statement of the Case on June 25, 2011, contending that Wille's appeal should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Respondents/Appellees-Appellees State of Hawai'i, BLNR, DLNR, and William J. Aila, Jr., in his capacity as Chairperson of the Board and Director of the DLNR (collectively, State ...


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