Land Use

An integral part of the Hawai‘i legal landscape.

Our Expertise

Goodsill handles land use litigation (before administrative agencies, trial courts and appellate bodies), including matters involving government regulatory disputes, water rights, Native Hawaiian rights, environmental law, eminent domain and inverse condemnation. We understand that sometimes conflicts occur and that litigation is the only means of resolving disputes and protecting vested property rights. Our attorneys have represented parties in landmark land use cases in Hawai‘i, including the Waiahole Ditch, Poipu Bay Golf Course, Koa Ridge, Mauna Kea Outrigger telescopes, Kapalua West Maui Airstrip and Manele Bay Golf Course cases.

We also represent clients who need land use permits and approvals, including rezonings, district boundary amendments, conservation district use permits, conditional use permits, SMA permits, development agreements, planned unit developments, variances and subdivision approvals. We understand Hawaii’s multi-tiered and intricate land use scheme and have experience and strong working relationships with elected and appointed government officials and planning department staff. We appear frequently before reviewing agencies and understand the procedures and inclinations of those agencies.

Our experience includes

  • State and County Land Use Matters – conservation district use permits (Board of Land and Natural Resources), historic site and historic building approvals, development moratoria, district boundary amendments (Land Use Commission), development plan redesignations, zoning changes, special management area permits and variance requests.
  • Water Rights - water rights and restrictions considered by the Water Commission.
  • Native Hawaiian Rights and Burial Laws – Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), state burial and antiquities laws, kuleana claims, gathering and fishing rights, and trail and access rights-of-way (including the Ala Loa Trail).
  • Environmental Matters – Endangered Species Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Clean Water Act, wetlands, storm water discharge and storm water permits, US Army Corps 404 dredge and fill permits, water and refuse reclamation and recycling, brownsfield development, solid wastes and landfills, environmental justice, environmental impact statements and assessments, telecommunications (including cellular tower sites) and electromagnetic fields (EMF).
  • Condemnation – “Public use” and “public purpose,” fair market value and just compensation, impact fees and exactions, regulatory takings, inverse condemnation and lease-to-fee conversions.

Our clients include owners and developers of hotels and resorts, golf courses, shopping centers, retailers of all sizes, office buildings, condominium apartment buildings, single-family residential developments, assisted living projects, industrial and commercial businesses, telecommunications providers, and utility companies.