For The Record: Manawale‘a Riding Center

Posted on Dec 23, 2013 in Media Releases


In response to beneficiaries’ inquiries, the department would like to take this opportunity to provide clarification to a recent Hawai‘i News Now story that impacts the Manawale‘a Riding Center (“Manawale‘a”) in Waimānalo.

Although compliance issues may seem trivial to some, the Department’s ability to generate sustainable revenue from its short term and longer term commercial land holdings to support our efforts to place native Hawaiians on the land remains a core function for the department.

Although the majority (82%) of former revocable permit (RP) holders have voluntarily brought themselves into compliance and have been granted rights-of-entry permits by the department, there remains a small minority (5 to 6 accounts) that believe the continued misappropriation of trust assets along with their deleterious affects to native Hawaiian beneficiaries are acceptable.

Unauthorized uses of any Hawaiian Home Lands impacts native Hawaiian beneficiaries.  When permit holders refuse to comply with the conditions of their land use agreements, they place the Hawaiian Homes Trust in a precarious position.  By not paying agreed upon fees for commercial land dispositions, beneficiaries are denied revenues that could be used for residential development; directly impacting applicants on the waitlist.  When activities are unlicensed and uninsured, the department assumes the liabilities of those activities, potentially impacting the solvency of the Trust.

Non-compliance with permit rules and regulations is simply unacceptable due to the fact that it negatively affects the programs and services DHHL administers for native Hawaiian beneficiaries.  As we have stated from Day 1 in May, when the increased scrutiny began, we are not isolating or selectively treating any accounts special. All accounts have and will be afforded the same rights and opportunities to bring their accounts into compliance based on the terms and conditions they agreed to at the start of their relationship with the Department or risk the possibility of termination

The ongoing effort to revamp the Revocable Permit program is the first of many the department is undertaking to bring all commercial properties into compliance.

Here are the facts regarding Manawale‘a and the former Revocable Permit Number 173 according to departmental records:

  • Manawale‘a does not have a permit to operate on DHHL land.
  • Manawale‘a has never had any land disposition agreement with DHHL.  Their use of the Department’s land for their program is through a former Revocable Permit No. 173 that was issued to Ben Char and Allan Silva which expired on June 30, 2013.  As with other RPs in transition, this account is in a holdover status pending transition or termination.
  • Authorized activities pursuant to Revocable Permit No. 173 included “stabling of horses and the storing of horse related supplies and equipment including tack, feed and trailers.”
  • One of the two permit holders expanded the department permitted 1.9 acre parcel to approximately 5 acres without authorization by the department nor additional fees for rent.  One of the two permit holders also expanded uses of the parcel without authorization by the department.
  • Over the years, unauthorized activities that have and are still occurring include: automotive repair, residential occupancy, industrial uses, parking and storage of commercial trucks and tractors (i.e. 18-wheel rigs), storage of farm equipment, boats and assorted junk.
  • Industrial uses occurring on the agriculturally zoned parcel are incompatible with the uses stipulated by the permit holder.
  • These are not new issues as both permit holders acknowledged non-compliance issues more than a year ago in a letter to the department dated March 16, 2012.
  • The compliant permit holder was recently issued a transitional right of entry to continue his stabling operation.
  • The non-compliant permit holder has made no attempts to offer a proposal to correct the non-compliance issues with DHHL.

If efforts are made to bring the property into compliance by removing the unpermitted uses and paying fair market value for the property they are occupying, the Department would welcome the continued presence of Manawale‘a and all the good works that they do.