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Kaua‘i County issues violation notice to HPM Building Supply site for operating illegally

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The Kaua‘i Planning Department has issued a notice of violation to Maha‘ulepu Farm LLC after an inspection of an HPM Building Supply truss manufacturing site located near the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill was found to be operating illegally.

The notice of violation was issued on Oct. 23 after the Planning Department concluded the HPM “truss manufacturing facility is not a generally permitted use within the Agriculture Zoning District (and) operation of a truss manufacturing facility within the Agriculture Zoning District without the proper zoning permit(s) constitutes a violation.”

The notice of violation includes an order for HPM to cease and desist all unpermitted activities immediately. HPM’s illegal truss manufacturing facility could result in the Kaua‘i Planning Department issuing an initial fine of $10,000 with the possibility of accruing additional civil fines of $10,000 per day for each day operations continue.

In fact, as of Oct. 30, HPM was still operating the truss manufacturing facility in direct violation of the Planning Department’s cease and desist order, according to the Pacific Resource Partnership.


Previously, the HPM obtained permits to operate at a neighboring site that was also located within the Agricultural Zoning District, but those permits were eventually revoked. Indeed, on Feb. 4, 2022, HPM submitted an application to the Kaua‘i Planning Commission for the required permits to conduct the same truss manufacturing operation on a property next door to the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill. Although HPM’s permits were originally approved by the commission, they were later vacated by Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe.

Instead of seeking approval of additional permits as required by law, HPM set up shop at the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill and began operating a truss manufacturing facility without the Planning Commission’s approval. HPM’s truss manufacturing site is located on property owned by Maha‘ulepu Farm.

“HPM’s operations at the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill were clearly in violation of the law, so the issuance of a notice of violation and a cease and desist order with the possibility of severe fines was the correct step to take,” said Pacific Resource Partnership Government Relations Manager Chris Delaunay.


In August, Pacific Resource Partnership filed a petition with the Kaua‘i Planning Commission that sought a declaratory order that HPM was operating illegally on ag land located near the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill. The Kaua‘i Planning Department then issued a notice of violation and cease and desist order on Oct. 23 to stop HPM’s unpermitted activities. Other individuals and organizations, like Friends of Maha‘ulepu and Save Kōloa, have also opposed the HPM truss manufacturing site.

“Kōloa doesn’t need and would not be helped by large double and triple axle trucks driving through our small town, loaded with lumber and forklifts headed for an operation on ag land in the old sugar cane mill,” said Elizabeth Okinaka of Save Kōloa. “HPM has been illegally using this ag land without any permits, operating saws and noisy air guns as they build trusses and modular walls. What we need is for Grove Farm to bring back our small farmers, who used to lease their land to increase our food sustainability after sugar ended.”

“One wonders if we are part of the Wild West,” said Bridget Hammerquist, president of the community group Friends of Maha‘ulepu. “HPM’s activities at the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill do not support agriculture and are considered illegal on land zoned for agriculture. Now that a notice of violation and cease and desist order have been issued by the county’s Planning Department, we hope that all of HPM’s illegal operations in Kōloa will end.”


HPM provided a statement saying the company has been working collaboratively with the County of Kaua‘i and community since 2021 to respond to the need for trusses to construct more affordable housing for residents. We have been building trusses openly and honestly in existing buildings consistent with the Old Kōloa Sugar Mill’s light industrial designation under the Kaua‘i General Plan and the South Kaua‘i Community Plan and other current industrial uses in the area.

“We believe that our current use is a legal continuing use of the mill facilities,” HPM stated. “We are currently working with the County of Kaua‘i to resolve the notice of violation. We plan to provide the County with a response as requested within the allotted 15 calendar days of our receipt of the notice.

“As a company with deep kama‘āina roots that has been responding to community needs for more than 100 years, HPM has always operated with integrity. Our intention from the start has always been to be in compliance with the County’s requirements while we seek to provide products and solutions for the construction industry to build more housing that is affordable for local people.”


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