Tuesday, February 6, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Hokuli'a developer denies damaging sites

By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Staff Writer

The developer of the Hokulia luxury housing development was back in court yesterday over construction practices at its massive 700-home project north of Kealakekua Bay.

This time the developer, 1250 Oceanside Partners, appeared in Kona Circuit Court for a hearing on a preliminary injunction being sought by the Protect Keopuka Ohana, which contends the developer isn’t doing enough to protect Native Hawaiian burials.

The hearing before Judge Ronald Ibarra lasted most of the day and is expected to continue Feb. 20.

The Protect Keopuka Ohana claims the development’s archaeological survey is inadequate, with many burials uncovered since the project started.

But Rick Humphreys, president and general manager of 1250 Oceanside Partners, said yesterday the developer has gone to great lengths to preserve and protect archaeological sites. He said the company has exceeded the guidelines of the Big Island Burial Council and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division.

The 350 employees — many from South Kona and a number of them part-Hawaiian — working on the Hokulia project would not let such shoddy practices continue, Humphreys said.

"We get upset when we hear false accusations," he said.

The 1,540-acre project, featuring luxury homes and a golf course, was shut down for two months late last year after a legal dispute arose following two major episodes of runoff Sept. 9 and Nov. 2 that turned coastal waters a muddy brown.

A trial was avoided after the company agreed to a plan to monitor the quality of the nearshore waters, among other things. The developer also is facing potential fines of up to $25,000 per day for state health violations in each of the two incidents.

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