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Commission withholds permit for Kona condo

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KAILUA-KONA >> A proposed 300-unit condominium development on the Big Island will be the subject of a contested case hearing following concerns from residents who say the project would interfere with the land’s historic sites.

The Leeward Planning Commission has decided against granting the necessary permit for the Ocean Villas development at Ka- haluu Bay, West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday. Instead, the commission approved residents’ request for a contested case hearing following a meeting last week. A date for the hearing has not yet been set.

Opponents of the 43-acre project, which also includes two swimming pools, say more archaeological surveys should be conducted to document the land’s 58 historical sites.

“The State Historic Preservation Division requests that concerns be addressed prior to issuance of the permit,” said Simmy McMichael, who petitioned for the contested case hearing.

The developers maintain that they are in compliance with standards set by regulatory agencies to build on the land, which is identified for resort use in the Hawaii County General Plan. A 2015 environmental impact statement found that the project would not have a significant impact on the area.

However, officials with the National Park Service have voiced concern that the Kahaluu Trail will cross the property and that more work needs to be done to document the cultural resources on the site.

Project consultant William Moore said the Kahaluu Trail likely follows an existing road and passes through areas designated for open space or historic preservation. The development would be far away from the trail, he said.

The land contains 58 historical sites, 17 of which have been deemed significant by archaeologists. The land’s 247 historical features include 59 platforms, 44 mounds, 31 enclosures, 21 terraces and a burial crypt.

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