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Appeals court orders pause to demolition of Haiku Stairs

By HNN Staff | Jun. 20, 2024 at 5:54 PM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A court has ordered a pause to the demolition of Haiku Stairs on Thursday.

The state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction requested by the group “Friends of Haiku Stairs.”

The order said the City and County of Honolulu cannot touch the stairs, pending further court action.

This comes after a series of back and forth legal rulings and appeals in May that cleared the way for the city to begin removing the nearly 4,000-step dilapidated and illegal pathway.

It’s the first big break for the group which has been begging the city for years not to tear down the decades old structure above Heeia.

After a circuit court judge refused to stop the project last month, the city shut down the back way to the stairs from Moanalua Valley.

Police officers now stand near a big message board, ready to ticket or even arrest anyone who attempts to get in.

But now the state’s intermediate court of appeals wants to hear arguments on why the stairs should and should not be removed.

Plaintiff Ernest Shih says he joined the lawsuit against the city because he believes the $2.5 million cost to demolish the stairs is a waste of money.

“If it was managed it could generate revenue for the state, for the city. There’s no question it would generate revenue. Everyone knows it’s a valuable resource,” Shih said.

Friends of Haiku Stairs plans to rally at the bottom of the Koko Head Stairs Saturday morning.

They say that popular trail is an example of how things could work on the Haiku Stairs.

In a statement, the city says courts routinely grant temporary orders, and that the facts and the law are on their side, as two circuit court judges have already ruled.

Both sides are set to argue their cases in court next Wednesday.

Copyright 2024 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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