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Coco Palms developers asked to address historic preservation

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  • Mike Laureta / Special to the Star-Advertiser
    Firefighters from the Kala­heo station joined the effort to extinguish the Coco Palms Resort fire Friday.

LIHUE » Developers who want to rebuild Kauai’s historic Coco Palms Resort must address concerns raised by the state Historic Preservation Division before any county permits are issued.

They must submit revised plans for any proposed work that could after a historic fishpond, information on any federal permits that may be required and a survey on all remaining architectural historic properties, the Garden Island reported Friday.

A nine-member county historic preservation review commission gave unanimous approval Thursday to plans to redevelop, restore and repair the hotel. The county Planning Commission next week is set to determine if the estimated $135 million project moves forward.

The Weuweu-Kawaiiki Fishpond runs through the resort and was placed on the state Register of Historic Places in 2009. The Coco Palms Resort is the only major hotel that did not reopen after Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Built in 1953, the property became famous when Elvis Presley filmed his 1961 movie "Blue Hawaii" there.

"We understand the sensitivity of this property, and we understand it is a delicate balance," said Coco Palms Hui LLC Principal Tyler Greene.

Susan Lebo, acting state Historic Preservation Division archaeology branch chief, said the division doesn’t agree with the permit application that states there will be no archaeological or historic properties affected.

"Most of the proposed work on the property involves architectural resources, some of which are over 50 years old," she wrote in a Jan. 30 letter to county Planning Director Michael Dahilig.

Contractors disturbed a human burial in August 2013 while a dust fence around the resort was being installed, according the state Historic Preservation Division records.

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