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County seeks to stop luau, events at property in Paia

County seeks to stop luau, events at property in Paia

Musicians and others gather for an event on beachfront property at 49 and 65 Hana Highway in Paia in April. The photo is among exhibits included in a Maui County lawsuit against the property owners and a business owner operating a luau and other events on the properties. — Photo courtesy of Maui County

Maui County is seeking to stop a business owner from operating a luau and holding other commercial events without permits on shoreline property in Paia.

A complaint filed May 12 in 2nd Circuit Court alleges that Kihei resident Jenna Yap is operating her business Maui’s Finest Luau and hosting wedding events “almost daily” on adjoining beachfront properties at 49 Hana Highway and 65 Hana Highway.

In declarations accompanying the complaint, longtime residents of nearby Ae Place said the luau and other events, which have occurred six to 10 times a month since July, are “incredibly loud,” with amplified music, live bands or disc jockeys.

One neighbor reported closing windows and moving to the far side of his house to try to drown out noise, including screaming from a crowd and Tahitian-style drumming. Another neighbor described a rap concert “with a lot of swearing and ‘F-bombs’ “ that ended at about 10 p.m.

In addition to Yap and Maui’s Finest Luau, the lawsuit was filed against Paia Bay Properties LLC, which owns the parcel at 49 Hana Highway and has a long-term lease for 65 Hana Highway. Yap leases both properties, according to the complaint.

A fire knife performance is shown in advertising for Maui’s Finest Luau. The photo is among exhibits included in a Maui County lawsuit against the property owners and a business owner operating a luau and other events on the properties. — Photo courtesy of Maui County

In a statement Thursday, Yap said she is in the process of hiring a law firm to respond to allegations of code violations in the lawsuit.

“We appreciate the opportunity to clarify some misunderstandings, including the longstanding history the county has had with the particular properties involved and particular personalities,” her statement said. “We are simply a small business that employs our local community and provide cultural experiences to visitors and kamaaina alike.

“Although we appreciate the hard work of our county officials, we hope that they zealously pursue all alleged code violators with the same or similar zeal. We also understand that the public may have questions at this time and we believe those answers will be borne out through the judicial process. As such, we ask the media and the public to be patient and await judicial review.”

According to the lawsuit, the commercial activities are occurring in special management and shoreline setback areas, requiring assessments and permits, which neither Yap nor the property owners have obtained.

Michael Baskin of Paia Bay Properties said in a statement Thursday that the property at 65 Hana Highway received a certificate of occupancy from the county to operate as a restaurant in October 2017.

“All inspections and approvals for SMA and building permits were approved,” he said. “It took over five years to obtain these permits. All parking has been approved.”

He said the restaurant has health permits and food establishment permits from the state Health Department.

“Restaurants are permitted to serve food, have music and host events,” he said.

According to the lawsuit, the mauka portion of this property is zoned business country-town, while the makai portion is zoned residential.

Baskin said the property at 49 Hana Highway is zoned public/quasi-public, which allows for parking and church uses.

The lawsuit says a zoning inspector was assigned to investigate Aug. 5 after the county Planning Department received video footage from neighbors showing a commercial luau operating on the properties.

The next day, Yap and an associate went to the department to discuss plans to host Hawaiian cultural events on the properties. At the meeting, which included Planning Director Michele McLean, Yap was told she needed to apply for permits and couldn’t operate her business on the properties until receiving permits, according to the lawsuit.

At the meeting Yap “was also informed that in the past, the owner of the property had held events in which musicians and guests were located on the residential portion of the property, which is prohibited by the zoning and within the shoreline area,” the complaint says.

On Aug. 7, the day after the meeting, Yap hosted what appeared to be a wedding a reception on the properties, according to the lawsuit.

Warning notices for Coastal Zone Management Act and zoning violations were posted at the property Aug. 13 after Yap refused to accept the notices from a county zoning inspector, according to the county. The warning notices said Yap could face civil and criminal penalties if activity continued without permits and said fines could be up to $100,000 per incident and up to $10,000 a day.

After the county reported she continued to hold events on the properties without permits, Yap was served with violation notices on Dec. 29.

The notices ordered Yap to “cease and desist all activity immediately.” The notices also ordered Yap to pay a fine of $71,666 by Jan. 27, with additional fines accumulating during the period the violation continues.

The notices allowed Yap to contest the violation orders.

Since receiving the violation notices, Yap has continued to hold events without permits and the Planning Department has continued to receive complaints, as well as documentation in video and photos, from neighbors who live within 100 feet of the property, according to the lawsuit.

“Several times a week, they are subjected to loud, amplified music, noise from crowds, and streams of people entering and exiting the properties from the Hana Highway as well as the beach,” the lawsuit says.

On its website, Maui’s Finest Luau advertises a two-hour full Hawaiian/Polynesian show, including a Polynesian fire-knife dancer, food and nonalcoholic beverages, through the end of the month. Starting June 1, the website offers a “cultural show and dinner experience” lasting two and a half hours. Those attending can bring their own alcoholic beverages, the website says.

Prices range from general admission of $125 for children and $165 for adults to VIP admission of $169 for children and $199 for adults.

Attorney Terrance Revere, who represents Paia Bay Properties, said Thursday that the lawsuit is “just more harassment.”

“Others and I have been saying and proving for years that the planning director has been using county resources to engage in personal vendettas,” Revere said.

In a separate case in 2015, Maui County fined Baskin $500,000 for 30 notices of violation over issues that included short-term rental, special management area, zoning and building code laws.

Planning Director McLean said: “There is nothing personal about our enforcement actions against Maui’s Finest Luau. They have conducted multiple events that have violated both zoning and Special Management Area requirements that were brought to our attention by several neighbors.”

A hearing is set for July 1 before 2nd Circuit Environmental Court Judge Peter Cahill on the county’s request for a preliminary injunction.

“As the violation is continuing, an injunction against further violations is necessary,” according to the county.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at

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Jack Pine Brewery seeks approval for special events

Jack Pine Brewery seeks approval for special events

BAXTER — Both the Baxter City Council and Patrick Sundberg, owner of Jack Pine Brewery, look toward future drafts as the council unanimously decided Tuesday, April 5, to deny his special event requests.

Sundberg had sent a letter to the council requesting approval for 12 special events between Memorial Day and Labor Day, seeking to utilize an area outside of his approved outdoor seating area to host concerts.

Instead, there will be fewer such events allowed at Jack Pine while the city looks at changes to city code regarding special events.


City Code

gives permission to the city to consider the issuance of a special event permit to a business, organization, or individual to host a special event requiring use of special services, use of public property or right-of-way, or temporary exemption from compliance with applicable local and state regulations. Such events would not threaten the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors of the city.

Jack Pine Brewery exterior

Jack Pine Brewery at 15593 Edgewood Drive in Baxter.

Submitted photo

Earlier this year, the Jack Pine Brewery received administrative approval for four special events in 2022.

“We kind of inadvertently found out that our outdoor space is just a phenomenal venue for live music and we really took advantage of that last year, in the summer,” Sundberg said.

At a time when people were itching for something to do, after all the activities were canceled for a year and a half, Jack Pine Brewery kind of fell into putting on live music outside as a way of working with the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, Sundberg said.

“I think this is really special but I don’t know how far that’s going to go,” Sundberg said. “So I’m not to the point and the business isn’t to the point where we can build-out … and really, really go that far.”

Jack Pine’s four busiest days of the year, Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend, Labor Day weekend and their fall festival weekend were covered by their initial request, which equated to 12 days or about 3.2% of total operational days for the year.

As he closed up his statement to the council, Sundberg said he respected the council’s decision, adding that he was “looking for that line, ‘Where’s that line for special events? And where can we go?’”

With most of the council familiar with Sundberg since his garage brewing days, council member Connie Lyscio asked if 12 was the “magic number” for the max number of special events an organizer can host.

Council member Zach Tabatt added how the city’s code did not match with what was being discussed.

“I think what happened here was that the form that gets filled out, doesn’t match the code and it just kind of slipped through,” Tabatt said. “I’m also saying, I don’t think we have the ability or authority to deny a special event based on a number, based on how I read the code.”

The council ultimately fell back on the number of requests and felt adding more events moves farther from “special” and more toward a standard operating procedure.

A unanimous vote to deny Sundberg’s request for 12 additional special use permits was passed at the meeting. With the vote, the council also formed a committee to review the code as written and advise the council and city on potential changes.

“We’ll still figure out a way to do live music somehow, but it’s going to change the look and feel of the patio,” Sundberg said after the meeting. “So our live music for the summer isn’t dead, it’s just going to have a scaled-back appearance. … We’re always trying to come up with new and fun ideas or different ways we can do things. At Jackpine, we’ll kind of run through the summer and see what the future brings for us.”

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter


, call 218-855-5859 or email


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Cannabis cafes? B.C. seeks feedback on allowing marijuana consumption spaces, events

Cannabis cafes? B.C. seeks feedback on allowing marijuana consumption spaces, events

The B.C. government is looking for feedback on potentially permitting “cannabis consumption spaces” in the province, which would allow businesses or special events to offer the on-site sale and use of marijuana.

Examples of what a cannabis consumption space might look like include cafes and lounges – or special ticketed events, such as festivals, spas or cooking classes.

If B.C. does move forward with permitted cannabis consumption spaces, the province says other health regulations would still be in effect, such as no indoor smoking or vaping.

Local governments and First Nations would also have a say in where and whether consumption spaces would be allowed in their jurisdictions, similar to the process already in place for cannabis retail shops.

“We have heard from cannabis businesses that consumption spaces could provide an opportunity for the sector to become more economically viable and could better meet the interests of people who use cannabis,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“At the same time, others have raised public health and safety concerns, which will need to be carefully weighed,” he said.

The province has set up an online survey to collect feedback on potential consumption spaces, which is open from April 6 to May 8.


Cannabis was first legalized in Canada in October 2018. In B.C., cannabis stores saw roughly $554 million in sales in 2021, up from $370 million in 2020.

In terms of popularity, the province says nearly one-in-three British Columbians aged 19 and older reported using cannabis within the past year.

The B.C. government adds that it is “continually monitoring the impact of cannabis legalization on the health and safety of British Columbians.” 

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CREATE seeks artists, vendors, for special nighttime market events

CREATE seeks artists, vendors, for special nighttime market events

Metro Wire Staff

CREATE Portage County plans to bring three special nighttime events to the Downtown District this year.

The nonprofit organization is organizing three ArtsWalk and Night Market events in the Mathias Mitchell Public Square from 5-8 p.m. on May 14, July 14, and September 1. The first two events run concurrently with Notes at Night, a live music show sponsored by the downtown business association, the Stevens Point Alliance.

CREATE is currently seeking artists and vendors for both events. According to a news release from the organization, CREATE has some equipment available for vendors and artists to use, including tables, tablecloths, and pop-up canopies.

The is no cost to be a vendor or artist at any of the three events.

Anyone who is interested in becoming involved should email [email protected]