The clouds were flying fast, headed south, piling up atop Waialeale, where they turned pearly grey as the sky brightened. Just about the time Koko and I turned around and headed east, the sun began to emerge from a fiery gold cave carved into the base of a towering cumulus. But it wasn’t quite up to the task, and instead shot a square silver shaft up toward the heavens and glowered as a single yellow eye in the face of horizon-hugging cloud bank.
So that’s what nature’s got going on. What’s happening in the realm of humans? (Click on the photos to enlarge.)
Well, the Garden Island today has a front-page story on a truck driver who reportedly damaged the headstones on two gravesites in a “terrifying situation” at a Catholic cemetery in Kealia. Meanwhile, up the road a fair piece at Naue, construction trucks daily roll over dozens of burials as Joe Bresica builds a house right smack on top of a Hawaiian cemetery.
As you can see, the house is coming right along. And the Guv still hasn’t appointed the new members needed to create a quorum on the Kauai-Niihau Island Burial Council — one of two bodies (the other is the county planning commission) with the power to stop it.
While we’re at Brescia’s lot, here’s an example of how the state and county work together to privatize public beaches:
The orange fence marks where the state set the shoreline for the purpose of determining the 70-foot setback for his house. Under state law, that shoreline certification is supposed to last for just one year, and it’s already expired. The county required Brescia to get state approval for his landscape plan, but the state punted to the county, which has previously allowed oceanfront landowners to install irrigation and landscaping right up to the expired shorelines.
So it raises the question: how/when do the people get their beach back?
And if the state refuses to consider historical evidence that shows the highest wash of the waves is considerably mauka of the shoreline certification line, what kind of liability is it creating when the big waves come again and wash right up and under those Wainiha/Haena houses — some of them with vacation rentals (TVRs) on the ground floor?
To continue on with the North Shore show-and-tell, here’s a photo of a house that Realtor Nicky Michaels tried to get approved as a grandfathered TVR use, proving that not all vacation rentals are “lavish.”
The planning department, to its credit, did deny Nicky’s application on this particular unit. But now that it’s all fixed up (photo below), who’s to say that he won’t be seeking an appeal of that denial — like the dozens of denials recently reversed by the Planning Commission with the public left in the dark about how and why?
Interestingly enough, Nicky was able to do this major renovation with a ridiculously low-valued building permit issued under the county’s “unsubstantial improvement” category. This allows him to avoid seeking a major Special Management Area permit, with its bothersome public hearing and potential for contested case hearing.
Doncha just love those accommodating guys at planning?
This is not the first time he’s taken such an approach. Under a similar “unsubstantial improvement” permit he was able to transform a modest 1,080-square-foot hale into the luxuriously spacious
Blue Lagoon vacation rental:
This is a destination like no other destination, for those whom have the wherewithal to stay at this location.
Be sure to take the slide show. And if you’ve got $8,330 lying around during prime season, and $6,650 off peak, you can rent it for a week. (There's an additional $550 cleaning fee, so the locals can tidy up after you.)
Heck, you might even get to meet Nicky himself:
The owner, Nick Michaels, loves to talk with prospective visitors about his home, about the north shore, and about Kauai. He has a true passion for this lovely island, for its wonderful people and enjoys sharing this little slice of paradise.
But I really shouldn’t be talking about these kinds of things. They might be construed — to quote a comment from yesterday’s post— as precisely the kind of “classist sentiments designed to rabble rouse and incite jealous anger.”