$85,000,000 Is Price City Paid for 30 Acres Illegally Taken At “Sandy Beach”

It started almost a quarter century ago. We were asked to represent the developer of Hawaii Kai, Hawaii’s first planned community, against challenges to its plan of twenty years, to provide homes along Kalaniananole Highway across and down the road from the Sandy Beach Park. It began with Ken Kupchak testifying before the City Council that a denial of a pending shoreline permit for 177 homes on 30 acres of land would be an “unconstitutional taking.” Over the ensuing decades, following several landmark cases which included televised oral arguments at the Hawaii Supreme Court, the City was required to divest itself of many acres of land at Mañana, several street remnants and cash, valued at approximately $85 million, for its obstruction of Hawaii Kai’s development rights.

Over the years Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert has repeatedly and successfully gone to bat for responsible landowners when, because of popular sentiment, government has decided to change the rules of the game after these owners have relied on them. Where justified by law, however, we also successfully supported conservation efforts, including the reclassification to conservation of the last privately owned land of Kawainui Marsh.

Damon Key Celebrates Thirtieth Anniversary of Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Victory

What do you call a court opinion that has been cited by 627 other courts, expressly followed in 42 cases, distinguished in 24 others, and has been cited 1,041 times in law reviews and 147 times in legal treatises? We call it a landmark. In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Kaiser Aetna v. United States, a truly landmark case, argued and won by Damon Key attorneys Charlie Bocken and Diane Hastert. Hawaii residents know this as the case that kept Hawaii Kai Marina (the former Kuapa Pond) private, a status it continues to enjoy today.

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