Work starts on Coco Palms demolition

Alan Veach, representing a group of investors working on the Coco Palms Resort, realizes the significance of the work he’s doing.

“Everyone’s got a story about Coco Palms,” Veach, who is currently supervising other projects on Kauai, said during a brief blessing Friday morning.

Work on clearing overgrowth along the fence line started Thursday afternoon, but the blessing officiated by Lady Ipo Kahaunaele-Ferreira commemorated the work starting on the resort, which has been closed since being damaged in Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

“Over the years, we have heard many plans for the Coco Palms property, but this is the first time we’ve seen real action,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. after learning that demolition permits for the Coco Palms property have been obtained by the Coco Palms Hui.

“There is no way to predict what will happen, but it has always been my hope that whatever happens with the property, its historical and cultural significance will be preserved,” the mayor said.

Craig Kawakami of Craig Kawakami Builders said his crews are tasked with putting up dust screens along the perimeter of the property.

“We started clearing the overgrowth Thursday,” Kawakami said. “We should be finishing up today. Roger Taniguchi will remove all of the material, and we’ll start putting up the dust screen.”

Planning Director Mike Dahilig, in a release from the county, noted that only a demolition permit has been sought at this time.

“Any future permit applications by Coco Palms Hui will be evaluated appropriately as the law provides at the time of submittal,” Dahilig said.

Carvalho, in June, initiated a bill that would repeal the remaining provisions of the so-called “Iniki ordinance.” The bill was approved by the Planning Commission.

The Iniki ordinance allows for the restoration of a non-conforming building or structure to its pre-Iniki condition.

The bill is expected to be forwarded to the Kauai County Council by the Planning Department within the next two weeks for its consideration.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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