Avoid further delays on Coco Palms

Certainly, rebuilding and reopening the historic Coco Palms Resort is going to take a long time — assuming it happens at all because there are still obstacles to clear and permits that must be approved. Paramount in the minds of many are concerns about the amount of traffic the 350-room development could create if it receives a green light.

There are those who doubt anything will actually ever happen — such thoughts are justified considering the remains of the resort have been sitting there since Hurricane Iniki destroyed it in 1992. And there are those who hope the estimated $135 million development could provide a big boost to Kauai’s economy.

That’s why many are anxiously awaiting for the Kauai County Planning Commission to make decisions on whether construction plans and building permits for Coco Palms Hui LLC should move forward. That wait, as reported by The Garden Island Wednesday, just got a little longer — two weeks — when only three of seven commission members attended a regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting. Because at least four members are needed to make any decision on the project permits, it had to be pushed back.

Now, in the big picture, another two weeks, when it comes to Coco Palms, isn’t much to get too excited about. The necessary decisions on permits will be made, eventually.

However, it isn’t good when developers and members of the public attend a Planning Commission meeting, expecting decisions will be made, but can’t be because four commission members didn’t make it.

There will be days commissioners can’t attend meetings. They are busy people with other responsibilities and are serving on the Planning Commission on a volunteer basis. They should be thanked for their service.

They are asked to call ahead and let county staff know if they won’t be at a meeting, but are not required to explain why. And as Office of Boards and Commissions Administrator Paula Morikami said, a simple majority of the board was expected before the meeting was convened on Tuesday before the fourth member called to say they couldn’t attend. That was unfortunate.

The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 24 in the Moikeha Building, meeting room 2A/2B, 4444 Rice Street in Lihue. If all seven commission members could attend, that would be best.

At the least, the county should be sure at least four will be there, so there are no further delays on making decisions that are key to Kauai’s future.

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