Obama’s oceanfront estate granted ‘rare exemption’ from Hawaii’s environmental laws…

Offi­cials in Hon­olu­lu have grant­ed the devel­op­ers of a lux­u­ry, ocean­front estate tied to Barack Oba­ma a major exemp­tion from envi­ron­men­tal laws designed to pro­tect Hawaii’s beaches.

The shore­line per­mit, issued by Honolulu’s Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Per­mit­ting on Mon­day, clears the way for the con­tro­ver­sial mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar ren­o­va­tion of a cen­tu­ry-old sea­wall in the heav­i­ly Native Hawai­ian com­mu­ni­ty of Waimanalo.

Under state and coun­ty laws, such projects are typ­i­cal­ly banned. Sci­en­tists and envi­ron­men­tal experts say sea­walls are the pri­ma­ry cause of beach loss through­out the state, and offi­cials expect old­er ones to fall into obsolescence.

But the prop­er­ty own­ers, includ­ing Mar­ty Nes­bitt, chair of the Oba­ma Foun­da­tion, argued they need­ed an exemp­tion to pro­tect the sprawl­ing com­pound they are build­ing in east­ern Oahu. State offi­cials and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers say the for­mer pres­i­dent, who was born and raised in Hawaii, is expect­ed to be among the property’s future occu­pants. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Nes­bitt and Oba­ma did not return requests seek­ing com­ment for this story.

 

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