Hotel Coral Reef to expand

LIHUE — Hotel Coral Reef will soon be expanding.

On Tuesday, the Planning Commission unanimously approved four permits that will allow the hotel in Kapaa to build a third story, which will add four hotel units and two apartment-hotel units, which contain a kitchen.

“We’re proud and looking forward to adding to fabric of community,” said Mike Harrah, hotel owner. “We’ll be adding six more rooms, which will add more local labor to build it. It will add more bed tax and not add anymore traffic, and it won’t need anymore parking spaces.”

Construction costs are estimated to be $about 360,000, Harrah said. The addition will raise the hotel to 32 feet.

“There are four permits being proposed — a special management area permit, a class 4 zoning permit, a use permit and a variance permit,” said Mike Dahilig, planning director.

The hotel is on land owned by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the owners are in a lease agreement with the state, Dahilig said.

“This application to go to a third story on a nonconforming structure and a nonconforming use is highly unusual,” he said. “This particular request is asking for a myriad of variances from the current code.”

In 1953, the original owners of the hotel took over an old firehouse and converted it into a hotel.

Then, in 1964, an adjacent spot, owned by the state, was available for use, so the family took over that lease as well, said Ian Jung, who represents Pixar Development, LLC., the development company in charge of the renovation.

“The structure itself has build outs to add a third level,” Young said. “And they decided on the process of going up versus out.”

The application is a result of a new requirement by DLNR to improve and maintain properties, he added.

The structure has the infrastructure in place to make a third floor, which will be put on a .59 acre plot of land, Dahilig said.

There are 16 units in the hotel. By adding the number of units to 22, that is a density that is comparable to resort areas in Kapaa that are designated in the R-20 zone, like the Pono Kai Resort, Dahilig said.

“We believe that the density proposed is equitable to what the density is allowed for in resorts up and down Kuhio Highway in the stretch of Kapaa Town,” Dahilig said.

After researching issues like coastal and historical resources, scenic views and public access to the coast line, the Planning Department recommended that the commission approve the permits.

“We have an interest in ensuring assets held by the state government are at a level that can be maintained properly,” he said.

Parking will not be affected because the hotel has more parking spots available than they are using, Dahilig said.

Approval came with 13 conditions, including a final design review before construction, the height cannot exceed 33 feet and the roof be built with non-reflective material and be neutral in color, he said.

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