LUC Votes to Close Waimanalo Gulch Landfill by March 2, 2028

Hawaii Land Use Commission allows Waimanalo Gulch landfill to continue until 2028
By Gordon Y.K. Pang, Star-Adv, 11 Oct. 2019

The city will need to close the contentious Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill at Kahe Point by March 2, 2028, under a permit granted by the state Land Use Commission Thursday by a 6-2 vote.

While the city will be able to expand and extend the life of the landfill by nearly nine years, it had asked to be given until the landfill “reaches capacity” instead of a set closure date.

The Honolulu Planning Commission, earlier this year, recommended that the LUC approve a permit allowing the landfill to stay open until it reaches capacity so the LUC’s decision is a victory for those who wanted to ensure that the new permit included a definitive closure deadline.

Attorneys for the parties must now submit their own “findings of fact and conclusions of law” by Oct. 18, from which LUC staff will craft a draft final decision for the commission to act on by Oct. 31. The commission still may decide to change the wording to their liking before the final vote.

For years critics have argued that a string of mayors and city councils have done little to keep the city’s promise to the West Oahu community to close the 30-year old landfill and instead have been taking steps to prevent its shutdown.

The application for the special-use permit actually was filed in 2009 but has been bouncing between the LUC, the Planning Commission and the courts without resolution.

The Ko Olina Community Association and state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D, Kalaeloa-Waianae-Makaha) have sought to shut down the facility while a separate effort to do the same was sought by former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who preceded Shimabukuro as the area’s state senator. Both have been designated intervenors in the case.  Continue reading

KOCA & Sen. Shimabukuro Object to Waimanalo Gulch Plan

State Land Use Commission to Consider City Landfill Closure
By Ashley Mizuo, HPR, 10/9/19

The Hawaii Land Use Commission is taking up the issue of closing the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, Oahu’s only municipal solid waste refuse dump.

In 2009, the commission voted to eliminate solid waste from the landfill by July 31, 2012. However, when 2012 came around, the Hawaii Supreme Court overturned the decision.

The high court cited the Honolulu Planning Commission’s evaluation outlining the continuing need to deposit solid waste in the landfill after the 2012 date.

The question of whether to close the city-operated landfill has been debated ever since.

In June, the city’s planning commission approved a permit for Waimanalo Gulch to stay open until it reaches capacity, with no firm deadline in place for closure. The decision added the conditions to the permit that required the city to find an alternative landfill location by December 31, 2022.

However, some community members near the landfill want a firm closing deadline set for the facility.

The Ko Olina Community Association and state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro have objected to the Planning Commission’s decision. In a summary of objections, they asserted that “the Landfill has harmed public health, safety and welfare.”

KOCA and Shimabukuro want to see the landfill completely closed by March 2, 2027.

Last week, the state Office of Planning, which conducts research for the Land Use Commission, recommended the panel approve the city’s permit request.  Continue reading