Hawaii Land Use Panel Tells City To Close Landfill by 2028

Oct 11, 2019

The State Land Use Commission voted to grant a special use permit allowing the City and County of Honolulu to continue operating Waimanalo Gulch Landfill at its current location, but only until March 2, 2028.

The commission voted 6-2 in favor of the action on Thursday.

“In the limited record that the city planning commission gave to the LUC there was a statement that the city needed at least seven years to choose and open a new landfill,” LUC Chair Jonathan Scheuer said. “This gives them that amount of time plus an additional two years.”

Scheuer and Dawn Chang were the two commissioners who voted against the measure.

Earlier in the hearing, there was a move to deny the special permit all together. That motion got a 4-4 vote, but did not pass. 

The Honolulu Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina said in a statement that she disagrees with the landfill's closure date.

“Based on current projections, the closure date of March 2, 2028, will result in the closure of the landfill many years before we reach capacity, resulting in unnecessarily premature costs, environmental impacts, and community disruption,” she said.

In 2009, the commission voted to eliminate solid waste from the landfill by July 31, 2012. The Hawaii Supreme Court then overturned the decision.

LUC Staff Executive Officer Daniel Orodenker explained that anyone can appeal the LUC decision.

“We try to make our decisions best we can based on the law and our rules and hopefully that means that it won’t be overturned,” he said. “Anyone can appeal anything and it is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether we did interpret the law and the rules properly.”

Kahikina said that the city will be weighing its options going forward.