Hanalei Market Re-Opening

Great news: the Hanalei Farmers Market will re-open, not this week but on Saturday, June 16, 2012. So it appears they resolved the permitting issue with only one week of closure. From the same source as before, here is the announcement:

Aloha Kakou,

As you know, the Hanalei Farmers’ Market was closed on June 2, 2012 in order to resolve issues regarding whether the provision of space once a week for local farmers and vendors to sell produce and products was allowed under the current use, zoning and SMA permits.

The sudden closure of the Farmers Market was very unfortunate. The Board of Hale Halawai wishes to express regret at the negative impacts experienced by the market participants, both vendors and customers. The suddenness of closure was in response to threatened litgation and the Board of HHOOH, with the desire to protect the opportunity for the Farmers’ Market to continue and to allow the possibility of re-opening the market in the correct way, made the decision to close pending resolution of the permit issues.

The County of Kauai has determined that the use of the subject permits by Hale Halawai to have a weekly farmers’ market is in conformance with the permits and their corresponding conditions of approval.

Consequently, the Hanalei Farmers’ Market will re-open on June 16, 2012 and will welcome back farmers, food vendors and artisans, all of whom will follow Kauai made guidelines.

The County of Kauai has been extremely responsive to the need to resolve this issue in a timely manner and has provided assistance in clarifying the issues and finding resolution through the Mayor’s Office and its Planning and Parks Departments. There has also been an upwelling of support from the broader community which includes a petition which collected over 1500 signatures in a very short time.

Now that the questions about the permits have been clarified, it is the hope of HHOOH that any remaining issues can be resolved using the energy of the community to address them.

President of the Board of Directors for Hale Halawai ‘Ohana O Hanalei

So it appears that there was some threat of a lawsuit over whether the market was allowed by the zoning for the land. It seems that Hale Halawai ‘Ohana ‘O Hanalei that owns the land cleared up the issues with the county and is clear to operate again. Some other details:

  • My wife used to sell jewelery at this market and remembers that there were threats of closure over 5 years ago. At the time, it was felt that it was the county itself that was trying to avoid having private farmers markets that had different rules than the county farmers markets, in particular, the crafts. Some people feared this was the case again.
  • Hale Halawai went out of their way to communicate that this was definitely not the case this time, as shown in the TGI article about the closure.
  • The big question then is who was threatening the lawsuit. The reader comments on that article hint that it was the other store owners in Hanalei who didn’t like the competition from the market. But then there are some accusations flying the other way against Hale Halawai, so like all comment threads, best to take everything with a grain of salt.
  • From their website: “Hale Halawai ‘Ohana O Hanalei translates as “A house for the coming together of the ‘Ohana (extended family) of Hanalei.” Locally referenced as The Community-Family Center. Dedicated to celebrating and increasing the resources and spirit of the people, the Center serves as a venue for a variety of services, classes, programs and events. […] The non-profit is primarily supported by private donations, grants, in-kind contributions and volunteers.
  • In another message: “For this Saturday ONLY, the Hanalei Farmers Market will take place at the Namahana Market, located at Kauai Mini Golf, 5-2723 Kuhio Hwy, from 9-1pm. Beginning next Saturday, June 16, we will resume operations from 9:30am-noon, at the site of the Hanalei Community Center, located near the Wai’oli Hu’ia Chuch (the beautiful green church).”

I suppose this is a relief for a lot of people, and I hope any remaining issues can be settled without such drastic measures.

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