Saturday, August 10, 2013

Musings: Odd, Even Fishy

Does anyone else find the eleventh-hour resurrection of the Coco Palms odd, even fishy? The giddy promise of a restored Elvis Presley cottage, a Larry Rivera headline act, doubtful? 

I mean, after 21 years and four failed proposals, two Realtors decided they could make a go of it after all, simply by rebuilding what was there?

Then there was the way one of those Realtors, Chad Waters, reportedly told The Garden Island that he and the other investors in Coco Palms Hui LLC had a right to rebuild the property the way it was, and Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Planning Director Mike Dahilig were on board. 

In response, the county issued a press release putting the project at a distinct arm's length.

In an email yesterday, Beth Tokioka wrote: 

We learned yesterday that he [Waters] had obtained his demolition permit. To date, the Mayor has not seen Mr. Waters' plans so he couldn't say one way or another whether he supports them or not.”

The mayor appeared to have a different plan for Coco Palms. His administration pushed the planning commission to revoke the last set of permits after eight years of inactivity and repeated extensions. Then he moved to rescind the “Iniki ordinance,” which allowed nonconforming structures to be rebuilt to their pre-hurricane condition — a major perk for developers, who claim it exempts them from the EIS process. 

With the ordinance's expiration looming, up steps the latest music man, playing a tune that so many would love to hear: the return of the old familiar Coco Palms! Or as Waters put it, “a 2014 version of the original Coco Palms.” Whatever that means.

So what are we looking at here? Another round of the developer's favorite game: lock-in permits — this time cemented by the long-desired demolition of that derelict dive — and flip the property? 

A quick-and-dirty Elvis-themed timeshare project with mayor-turned-Realtor Maryanne Kusaka managing the sales team? 

An actual 396-room hotel right smack in the tsunami zone at the most traffic-congested spot  — many would say the most sacred — on Kauai, with the county's hands oh-so conveniently tied by the Iniki ordinance, which it should have revoked long ago? 

Or a fight to hold off the building permits until the Council can rescind the ordinance, with the developer claiming vested rights because of the demo and launching a big "takings" lawsuit?

At any rate, I hope the state checks out the new "security lighting" to make sure it's seabird friendly, since that's a major flyway.

There's another wrinkle: the state legislature funded a $270,000 grant-in-aid for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust to study possible public uses for the Coco Palms site, a process that has apparently begun. It would probably wouldn't hurt for HILT to continue its work — you know, on the off chance that this latest proposal does a belly flop.

Because something about this whole deal just smells a little odd, even fishy.


Anonymous said...

Who cares about Elvis and an old fashioned hotel?. Only the old folks that made a tiny local reputation of singing there. They probably won't be alive by the time the new thing is built and you can believe the developers are going to come in and ask for all sorts o f variances and exclusions from EIS as they "rebuild".

Most importantly, the old place desecrated Sacred Hawaiian grounds (because they could get away with it back then). That cannot be allowed to be perpetuated by using a permit process that should have been rescinded 10 years ago, except it was such a boon to the building industry. Same old corruption in County.

Think about the traffic? What tourist wants their room RIGHT on the busiest soon to be 4-lane highway on the island? You know this is not about "rebuilding just like it was". You can't make money on dinky little rooms. It is just get hold of the permit, then sue the County for not allowing development.

Anonymous said...

somebody get dan hempey to write a letter or something!

Anonymous said...

Iʻm really glad you picked up on this, Joan. It was bothering me so much I had to not look.

Just what does that mean by not the strictest Health and Safety standards? Are they saying that health & safety is not required?

And it is confusing about the Iniki Ordinance. Something hinky there and new laws would certainly over-ride any archaic ordinances that are not up to new standards for health, safety, shoreline, parking, etc. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE and LAUGHABLE to go to pre-Iniki laws.

Also it seemed like cart before the horse and the demolition permit should come after the approval to construct permit. Itʻs almost as if they riding out ʻwhats his nameʻ the last guyʻs permit.

I donʻt know but so glad you zeroed in on it. And yes, they canʻt just DISS the study thatʻs already been approved.

IF they were wise, theyʻd cut loose now before Kauai gets ahold of them at Planning. And cut Larry Rivera loose and stop promising him shit.

The fact that the Planning Dept. has touched this adds more stink. If a complaint was filed now, do you think that would impede any expedited illegal approvals from going thru?

Anonymous said...

Bernard better get his okole in gear and pull that ordinance.
Whatʻs he waiting for?

Anonymous said...

The Coco Palms was an important part of many Kauai people's lives . The memory should not be tarnished by whack jobs that have no respect.
However, the plan briefly outlined in the GI paper is probably a scheme. The cost of building, an inferior location, lack of safe beach access, noise etc. do not allow the financial viability of a modern hotel.
The Seshell restaurant should not be part of the grandfather clause.
Look up Chad Waters Calif in google

Anonymous said...

Let's see how this plays out before all you people start ranting. It's getting a bit old listening to all the negativity in your blogs Joan.

We live in the best place in all the world. Be thankful, not negative, you'll live a better life for sure.

Anonymous said...

Definitely fishy. Having worked in various local governments most of my career on the engineering end and having been involved with some major coastal developments in CA, there is no way that the mayor hasn't seen the plans. Typical government official, plead ignorance.

Anonymous said...

2:50 am.....get real!!!!

Elaine Albertson said...

I thought I should keep my mind open when I first read the know, be fair...but my gut reaction was WTF? Pre-Iniki standards? Another hotel? On the flood plain? Who's trying to kid who? My first reaction was that someone's skids were getting greased big time. I think I'll stay with that perception until something comes up to prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

Drive by there on a 'normal' day. Carefully observe the traffic. Now, picture a fully operating rebuilt Coco Palms (thank you very much, Bernard). Let's assume it operates at 70% occupancy on average. The original had 396 room. Let's also assume they pare down the rooms to 300. That's 210 occupied rooms at any given time. 70% have cars. Well, you can do the math. 140+ additional cars. I'm not even touching how the permits go through. Arms length transaction? Yea, okay. Want some swamp land?

Anonymous said...

Deja Vu: High Rollers- Kauai eclectic Mar 2011.

Different names/same names-it's all in one and one for none= SCAM.

Anonymous said...

August 10, 2013 at 7:51 PM said "variances and exclusions from EIS"

August 11, 2013 at 9:42 AM said
"Arms length transaction? Yea, okay."

What are you talking about?

August 11, 2013 at 7:02 AM said:

"Having worked in various local governments most of my career on the engineering end and having been involved with some major coastal developments in CA, there is no way that the mayor hasn't seen the plans."

Did you read the article? Are you familiar with the efforts to develop the property since Iniki? Because what they're proposing to build (essentially what was there pre-Iniki) is not what the previous owner proposed. The new owners are trying to skirt the permitting process by claiming that the Iniki ordinance "grandfathers" their proposal. Say what you want but you sound like a Caliwhacker who apparently just got off the jet.

Anonymous said...

I think the mayor saw the plans but is pretending like he didn't because he know people will scream about a rebuild. SCAM is right and the mayor is in on it.

Anonymous said...

My unbiased thoughts are ........ The Coco Palms lost it's permits under foreign ownership ......... The value drops and local investors pick it up for a fraction of it's worth which makes it a very viable project.

It may take forever If left to the municipalities to correct the eye sore in the area.

Anonymous said...

The TVR owners are anti hotel. After all they are protecting their flourishing market share.

Anonymous said...

When you have land with a hotel on it and it is legal and a hurricane destroys the hotel, you have a basic constitutional right to rebuild it as it was.

The County should really negotiate now and allow the developer to make some changes from the original hotel to help de-shoddy Kapaa.

Under non-conforming use law the developer cannot grandfather anything at all beyond the prior use of the hotel in any way, so one would now expect a negotiation.

Some watchdog might want to pull the original permits and check to see if it really is just a continuation of the old use, rather than an expansion. The County negotiating power depends on the extent to which the developers wish to expand the use. Also the use might could have been deemed abandoned but likely not while iniki ordinance is alive.

Anonymous said...

The Iniki Ordinance allows to rebuild as as it was pre-Iniki. Period.
That's it...............Guaranteed the developer will ask for many County concessions. The county should stand to their guns, no changes. This property has abused the eyes of Kauai for long enough....20 plus years to rebuild. This is a scheme. Open escrow, spend a few bucks to show "effort", ask for changes and then when NEW entitlements and floor plans are in place, go for the big money investor. Land banking relying on County concessions....

Andy Parx said...

The repeal of the Iniki repair bill(s) have already been sent by the council to the planning commission where they passed and are awaiting a spot on the council agenda. Plus the ordinance is not for reconstruction but for repair if and only if it's less than 50% damaged and that's what's going to be "repaired." Someone's selling these supposed investors a bill of goods. someone like Jasper and Kusaka. And the sh*t-for-brains at TGI bought it because they don't know what happened yesterday much less today or 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...

"When you have land with a hotel on it and it is legal and a hurricane destroys the hotel, you have a basic constitutional right to rebuild it as it was."

Not the 5th owner 20 years later

Anonymous said...

How much damage was caused by neglect over 20 years?

Anonymous said...

Is it known for a fact that Kusaka is behind this? If so, I can only shake me head and cringe that this woman is still around trying to sell-out to the highest bidder, as she did with Kealia Kai and Plueger. Her participation in the Ka Loko Dam fiasco was criminal and her pompous ass should've been thrown in jail long ago. She needs to eat humble pie and get down from her self-imposed pedestal. I have no love for this woman, I think she's a fraud and she's definitely a sell-out of her native people. The history of this site began hundreds of years before Coco Palms and that is the heritage that should be honored. Coco Palms had a good run but it is over. It ended when Mrs. Guslander sold the property. The new owners had no real aloha for the place, the employees or the people of Kauai which is why 21 years after Iniki, it still sits in its sorry condition today. Let the community, most especially Kanaka Hawaii, determine the future for this sacred site of Ka Wa Kahiko (ancient time).

Anonymous said...

August 11, 2013 at 4:06 PM


Anonymous said...

So when the county had the chances(s) to condemn, did they know about this stuff in the works maybe and has the county been HELPING THE DEVELOPER?

Anonymous said...

Is that why the mayor would not put the path behind the hotel?

Anonymous said...

I drive past Coco Palms every day and I welcome the restoration of the property. I suspect they will build a pedestrian bridge over the road to access the beach. All the discussion about some other use for the property is interesting but no one in 20 years has put forth a viable plan or sourced the money to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

According to the Garden Island's poll 65.8% of the voters wanted Coco Palms fully restored to it's old glory. I guess most of you negative bloggers weren't here in those days to understand it was part of the local culture.
Vocal minority...get a life please.

Anonymous said...

Had a converstation with my niece in florida the other day whose boyfriend has been told.....that the investment company he contracts with in the Bahamas have their hands on a dilapidated property on Kauai...............

Also had a conversation with a woman here on Kauai that stated the property needs to become public...hello? That IS in the WORKS!


Anonymous said...

so once again apparently anything that has to do and Realtors on Kauai is bad news to this blogger-why does this bother you so much?
Buying and selling property happens every day all over the world-so just because it is a group of Realtors finally trying to do something with this iconic Hotel you trash the idea-people who have been living here for a lot longer than you want this to happen-get over it and move on-

Anonymous said...

Can someone answer me this.
How can you get a demolition permit on something that you do not own. Never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

Chad Water ran/mismanaged one real estates fund into the ground:

Was relieved of his management and left others to answer for his misdoings. Is this chapter 2 in his rape of the land?

Anonymous said...

"Can someone answer me this.
How can you get a demolition permit on something that you do not own. Never heard of it.

August 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM"

That comment deserves repeating.

Thatʻs the point. If this hasnʻt been to the Planning Commission or no building/construction/project applications have been submitted/approved, we have a cart thatʻs running far ahead of the horse.

And then again, maybe thereʻs no horse.

Anonymous said...

Before and after hurricane that place has always been a traffic mess.

I would rather see it become a Hawaiian cultural center than a hotel.

Imua Coco Palms Hawaiian cultural center.

Anonymous said...

Elvis was "Chad" in Blue up all sorts of deals in that movie!

Anonymous said...

I would rather see Coco Palms turned into a community asset. It should become a Cultural Center. It's too important to the history of this island.

The traffic there is terrible there and imagine the road noise if you're sleeping there, never mind trying to cross that road. And what beach is there? Its eroding away!

Anonymous said...

Watch out! Chad Waters is a fraud. He aims to pump and dump...that is he plans to pump up the price of Coco Palms so that he can make a quick profit on the tax payers who want to turn this into a cultural park. Read this important article.

Anonymous said...

It will eventually be demo'd and that should pretty much take care of what little life is left at the current landfill

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Chad Waters has been a sleazy little scammer since the late '90s. I speak from experience. Anything this fraudster is involved with - AVOID.