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Kauai resort owner sues to block nearby dairy farm


LIHUE, Kauai — The owner of a Kauai resort has filed a lawsuit to stop the development of a proposed dairy farm on a nearby property.

Progress on Hawaii Dairy Farms should cease until developers prove it won’t negatively affect the surrounding environment, said the lawsuit filed last Thursday by Kawailoa Development in Circuit Court in Lihue.

Kawailoa owns the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and the Poipu Bay Golf Course. It’s the closest landowner to parcels where Hawaii Dairy Farms wants to place 1,800 milking cows on 582 acres, The Garden Island newspaper reported Tuesday.

Kawailoa says its business, recreational, environmental and aesthetic interests would be adversely affected by the wastewater-treatment unit, the dairy farm and its effluent ponds.

The company says this harm could be prevented if an environmental assessment were prepared to study the effects of discharge, odors and other pollution. These effects could diminish the properties, and they pose a potential health risk to employees and guests, endangered species and the natural environment, Kawailoa said.

Hawaii Dairy Farms spokeswoman Amy Hennessey called the lawsuit “deeply disappointing,” and a “malicious attack on local food by commercial resort interests.”

The farm is a model for sustainability and environmental quality that makes productive use of important agricultural lands, she said. It followed county and state departments of agriculture and health regulatory review processes that ensure the plans meet or exceed requirements, Hennessey said.

“We believe this suit is utterly without merit,” she said. “The nuisance claim is wholly premature, as the dairy has not yet been built.”