Resort headed for county council vote

LIHU’E — The Kaua`i County Council’s Planning Committee members yesterday put

their support behind the proposed Makaweli resort project and sent it on to the

full council for a vote next week.

The proposed 250-unit Destination

Villages, on Gay & Robinson-held land, will either be a boon to the West

Side or a destroyer of island culture, depending on who was speaking at a

committee meeting Wednesday.

“Is this place appropriate for a resort? The

answer is no. This is coastal land and should be preserved. It has a fish pond.

It has a (Hawaiian) burial site. It has endangered species. This is not a place

for a resort,” said Bruce Pleas, a self-employed West Side resident.


bill should be shot down and killed. I’d rather see this as a cultural

destination village. This is about a lot of different cultures. There’s a lot

of history there,” Cheryl Lovell-Obatake said.

Lovell-Obatake has been a

persistent critic of the proposed resort, claiming it doesn’t properly take

into account the Hawaiian culture on the site.

But, despite taking note of

the objections, all of the committee members explained why they will vote to

approve the project next week.

“The developer has come in with a project

that is low-impact, low-density. I believe if we are diligent in our oversight

of this project, we have an opportunity to address the concerns voiced this

morning,” Councilman Billy Swain said.

Councilman Jimmy Tokioka said he has

walked door to door on the west side and heard, “We need jobs. We need to help

the locals on the West Side.”

The developers and the Robinson family “are

very sincere,” Tokioka added. “I know the Robinsons could just get out of this,

but they are concerned about the plantation workers. For that reason I am going

to vote yes.”

Councilman Gary Hooser said he has “mixed feelings about

this. I did vote no on a prior project But this is a much smaller-scale

project. I don’t like rezoning agricultural land into resort land, but there is

lots of opportunity for council input.”

There is opportunity to “retain the

wildness of the coast as much as possible,” Hooser said.


Lovell-Obatake and Pleas agreed that they were talking land-use and the

committee was talking economics.

Tokioka also clarified his position after

the meeting.

“I am afraid that if the Robinsons are not viable, someone

else may come in, and then what happens? If you are employed in the cane fields

right now, you can rent a house for $125 a month” from the Robinsons, Tokioka

said. And retirees from the company “pay $23 a month for housing, plus a dollar

for water a month. Where will all those people go if someone else comes


Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252)



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