MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Those fighting a proposed expansion of Paradise Park in Manoa got a big victory Friday.
In a unanimous vote, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources denied park owners a chance to contest the board's May decision not to extend a conservation permit for the park.
Dale Kobayashi, chairman of Manoa Neighborhood Board, is hopeful the decision effectively kills the planned expansion.
"They got shut down today, so I think we're finally where we can say, 'It's over, we won,'" he said.
But developers say they're hopeful they can revive the project, something that would require them to start over with the permitting process.
Paradise Park opened as a major attraction in Manoa in 1966. The park included exotic bird and plant attractions, and had a 75-year lease.
It suspended operations in 1994.
Then, 20 years later, Wong successfully obtained permits to revitalize the 47-acre property into a tourist attraction, with hula shows and other Hawaiian cultural elements.
But the plan angered Manoa residents, who said they weren't included in the process and worried about traffic and late night noise.
"Maybe the Wongs didn't think they had a duty to invite the community and to inform neighborhood boards," said Manoa resident Ellen Watson.
In 2015, the park missed the deadline to begin construction and applied to extend its permit, but was ultimately denied.
Kumu Hula Michael Pili Pang of Halau Hula Ka No'eau testified Friday that the park would help house his hula artifacts, while educating visitors. He's confident those plans will eventually happen, but park owners will now have to start the permitting process from the beginning.
Darryl Wong, son of the park's original developer, said that's what he hopes to do.
"We're probably going to reapply again and come back to it," he said. "The plan is still intact, we're not going to change the plan because it's about culture."