Nansay Hawai’i, Inc., (Nansay) sought to build a resort in a Special Management Area (SMA) on the Big Island. Nansay applied to the Hawai’i County Planning Commission (HPC) (defendant) for an SMA use permit. Public Access Shoreline Hawaii (PASH) (plaintiff), a public interest group representing native Hawaiians who have traditionally used undeveloped land for subsistence, cultural, and religious purposes, opposed the permit and sought to participate in the hearings before the HPC. The HPC denied PASH’s request, contending that PASH lacked standing because the interests it represented were the same as those of the general public. PASH sued HPC.