Waikoloa resort proposal withdrawn

KAILUA-KONA — A request made to the Leeward Planning Commission to rezone part of a Waikoloa parcel and grant a special management area use permit to accommodate a planned 40-unit resort development has been withdrawn.

The withdrawal, sent Thursday to the county planning director from a planning consultant retained by Waikoloa BC LLC, comes after the commission heard heavy opposition Jan. 18 from members of the public, who raised concerns about the development’s potential impact to shoreline access as well as natural and cultural resources.

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Following the withdrawal, a representative for the property owner said in a statement there are currently no immediate plans for the site.

The site is part of a 10-acre coastal property at Anaehoomalu Bay. The property is the current site of Lava Lava Beach Club and is owned by Waikoloa BC, LLC.

The developer had planned to subdivide a 7.849-acre parcel from the larger 10 acres and had asked the commission to rezone that parcel and grant a special management area use permit, which are needed for most coastal developments.

The proposed resort development would have consisted of 40 rental units to be spread across bungalows, two-story duplexes and another two-story structure. The development would also include a caretaker’s cottage, restaurant/cafe, reception area and parking spaces.

The project’s proposed density had been reduced from an earlier proposed 44 units and also moved a swimming pool and event garden away from historical trails in the area, leaving a portion of the property free of development.

During their meeting, commissioners declined to make a decision on the developer’s requests, instead choosing to undertake a site visit next month and then hold a follow-up hearing.

In a letter addressed to the planning director dated Thursday, Sidney Fuke, the planning consultant retained by the developer, said during review of the applications, “considerable modifications” had been made to the proposal to address the comments of the public and government agencies.

In addition to the density reduction and preservation of the trails, the latest proposal also reflected additional setback from the certified shoreline, a height reduction and extended buffers from the natural and cultural resources like the trails and anchialine ponds on the property.

Despite those changes, however, Fuke wrote that from public testimony at the hearing some still felt the zoning request was “inappropriate.”

As a result, he said, the applicant was withdrawing the applications and suggested the February site visit and hearing be canceled.

A revised agenda posted yesterday for the Leeward Planning Commission’s Feb. 15 meeting indicates the site visit and agenda items related to the application have been canceled.

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In a statement, Scott Head, a representative for Waikoloa BC, LLC, said it chose to withdraw the application for rezoning and the permit after hearing the testimony during the commission hearing.

“The company remains committed to responsible stewardship of our island’s cultural and natural resources,” he said. “There are no immediate plans for the property at this time.”