Before I get to the nitty gritty update details of the hot mess that is the proposed Coco Palms Hotel development – may I ask you to please sign this petition and possibly chip in online to help pay the modest administrative and legal expenses of I Ola Wailuanui?
You really can’t make this stuff up. Read on if you can stomach it. And then join us at I Ola Wailuanui to help if the spirit moves you.
The on-again, off-again, development of the Coco Palms Hotel by an endless stream of Utah LLC’s is a charade – an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance. (Oxford Language)
The Utah owners promised the Kaua’i Planning Commission in August of 2022 they’d hold community meetings. Not a single meeting has been held.
There’s been no HRS343 environmental impact review as required by state law.
They agreed to dispose of their green waste at a facility in Moloaa. Instead, they’ve dumped it illegally on conservation lands.
It’s well documented there are countless Iwi Kūpuna who’ve been laid to rest here. The construction and demolition permits require a qualified archaeological observer whenever digging takes place. I’ve personally witnessed this requirement being violated (pictures and video available).
They promised to build affordable hotel-worker housing specifically upon properties they don’t own and now are “re-negotiating” this requirement with the County.
They’ve cut down well over 100 coconut trees from state-owned and private lands and dumped them in sensitive conservation areas without approvals or permits.
The BLNR has issued a cease and desist notice to the developers for illegal dumping, clearing, and grubbing on conservation lands.
The previous LLC upon which the current LLC foreclosed is appealing the foreclosure, effectively “clouding the title”. This will inhibit future investment capital until resolved – which could take years.
Still yet another LLC at least 3 LLCs back in the long line of LLCs, is listed on State leases and permits required to access and utilize these lands. That particular LLC no longer legally exists and was involuntarily dissolved by the State many years ago.
Consequently, the present LLC owner/developer doesn’t possess a lease, or a permit, from the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to use the surrounding state-owned lands which include the coconut grove. Yet, they are using these lands anyway, putting up fences, cutting down trees, grubbing, and grading – without regard to the law.
County property taxes on some parcels have not been paid in years.
The whole thing is a very bad joke – a caricature of a charade.
These guys from Utah, one of whom has been convicted of felony fraud, show up via Zoom, wring their hands, promise they will do better, wipe the sweat from their brow, and continue the charade.
Yes, they have expensive lawyers and will sue or threaten to sue the state and county should either or both have the audacity to hold them accountable.
Thankfully, the BLNR appears to be doing just that. Google the April 14 BLNR meeting and watch the hearing. It’s item D1. See for yourself the tough questions asked by Board Chair Dawn Chang and Members.
More importantly, watch the developers misstate the facts, feign ignorance, and promise to do better. They were barely aware the property is listed on both the National and the Hawai’i Register of Historic Places – and the regulatory requirements that accompany those listings.
The County Planning Director and Commission have also expressed outrage and asked tough questions.
But yes, our community and this incredibly significant property need more.
We need our government agencies to take an even more proactive role and ensure the landowner/developer follows the law.
The past and present actions of this owner/developer are too egregious to ignore or write off as only a series of innocent unintended oversights.
We need strong and direct enforcement of existing law, and we need a funding angel or angels to step forward in partnership with the community to purchase, restore, and preserve these lands in perpetuity.
Can you help?
Will you join me in signing a petition in support of the I Ola Wailuanui vision of community stewardship for these incredibly important historic and culturally significant lands?
Will you also take that next step and make an online contribution in support of I Ola Wailuanui to assist in helping to pay basic administrative and legal costs? No contribution is too small and all are welcome.
Please also consider making a gift pledge to be exercised only when we secure the total amount needed to purchase and convert this property to a stewardship-focused, community-owned, cultural and community center. Your pledge and a contingent promise of future support could be for $100, $10,000, $100,000, $1,000,000, $10,000,000, $20,000,000, or any amount in between.
For further information on how you can help, call me at 808-652-4279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Hooser – Board Member I Ola Wailuanui
Note: Recently, in The Garden Island newspaper Patrick Manning, managing director of Reef Capital Partners from Utah said “the DLNR has received erroneous complaints that we grubbed or graded the land. We will show the DLNR those complaints were not accurate.”
Excuse me? “Grubbing is defined as removing and disposing of all unwanted vegetative matter from underground, such as stumps, roots, buried logs, and other debris.”
Here is a photo taken less than two weeks ago and validates clearly the DLNR cease and desist order.