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Hawaii landowner cancels condo plans to protect surf spot

July 11, 2019

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — A Hawaii developer has agreed to cancel a planned condominium project to preserve a surfing area, a report said.

Property owner Kilohana Makai LLC agreed to work toward construction of a public space rather than the proposed five-story residence near the Banyans, West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday.

The Banyans is a popular surfing spot on the north side of Holualoa Bay.

Kilohana Makai representatives met in a second mediation session Monday with Simmy McMichael and Keawe K.K.K. Alapai, who are involved in a case challenging the condominium plans.

Kilohana Makai will work over the next year to 15 months to convert the 14,450-square-foot (1,342-square-meter) lot on the Big Island into a community space, said company spokesman Bill McCowatt.

“The process may become much more firm over that 15 months, and if it’s solid enough, we’ll then look at an extension,” McCowatt said.

Hawaii County could buy the property via the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission acquisition fund, which maintains a list of properties considered “worthy of preservation.”

The fund is supported by 2% of county property taxes and held close to $20 million in late February.

McMichael submitted a suggestion form nominating the site to the commission, she said.

“It meets all the criteria of what PONC represents,” she said. “And that is the open space, historical and for the general public.”

The agreement is a “phenomenal opportunity for the county to be part of a land purchase that will provide much-needed shoreline access to a very popular surf site,” said Hawaii County Council member Rebecca Villegas, whose district includes the property.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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