Mayor hoping to end purchase of land swallowed by lava

July 14, 2018

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim is hoping the county will be able to back out of an ongoing land purchase that was started before the land was made worthless by lava inundation.

The county was looking to purchase a $2.7 million Vacationland parcel owned by a politically connected family to gain ocean access, Kim said.

The land would have provided Vacationland development with a buffer from tide pools, West Hawaii Today reported .

The Hawaii County Council authorized the purchase in 2013, before Kim was mayor.

The county has already signed a contract making the purchase contingent on a state grant, a county attorney said.

The land was consumed by 300 to 400 yards (274 to 366 meters) of lava from the Kilauea volcano, which began erupting in May.

“The whole purpose of purchasing, it is gone,” Kim said Thursday. “I’m not interested in paying good money for that.”

He hopes that the state will come to the same conclusion and agree to abandon the purchase.

As of Monday, the state had not told the county to proceed with the purchase, since the Legacy Land grant hadn’t been finalized, said Hamana Ventura, county property manager.

“Once we get clarification and a decision from Legacy Lands . then the county will be coming up with a game plan,” Ventura said.

Documents filed with the state show that the land is owned by Kahi Inc., which is managed by retired Judge Glenn Hara, his wife Janet and Gregory Abe.

Glenn Hara inherited the land from his father, the late Stanley I. Hara, who worked as a developer and also served in the Hawaii Territorial Legislature and the state Senate. The land was owned in partnership with others, including state Supreme Court associate justice Kazuhisa Abe.

Suzanne Case, chairwoman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, will work with the county on how to handle the purchase moving forward, said spokesman Dan Dennison said Thursday.

“It’s premature to say at this point,” he said.


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

Update hourly