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Kauai group says luxury development puts sacred Hawaiian sites at risk

The county has given the project the green light, but opponents say it's too close to the Koloa Heritage Trail.
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 11:03 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 12, 2022 at 12:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A group on Kauai is trying to stop a 25-acre project that includes 279 luxury units on the south shore, saying it’s too close to the Koloa Heritage Trail.

The Save Koloa group tried to deliver a “stop work” order to crews Monday.

The group believes developer Meridian Pacific is endangering native species, an archaeological site and Hawaiian burial grounds. They also claim the permits were not properly given.

The burial sites are “in a cave system that are underneath the property,” said protest organizer Elizabeth Okinawa. “This property is directly surrounded by lava tubes on almost every side. It’s sad that but it seems like a property like this that obviously contains critical habitat and lava tubes is being ignored.”

The county said the project has the necessary zoning permits and subdivision approvals.

But preservationists argue the developer is rushing construction and want more studies and protective measures in light of the area’s historical and environmental significance.

They want to know if the county is following recommendations made by the state Historic Preservation Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“They wrote to the county and they gave the county direction on what they need to do and they’re not doing it. So the county is violating the federal requirements that the director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife gave them,” said Bridget Hammerquist, president of Friends of Maha’ulepu.

An attorney for the developer told HNN the prior owners of the parcel received all discretionary permits and approvals and that “Hawaii law requires any developer to stop work if any cultural or historical artifacts are found, so there are already protections in place.”

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