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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 13, 2010

Home plan finally OK'd on 16th try

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Joseph Brescia's home construction in June showed workers and equipment in his proposed "buffer zone" atop three of the burials under the house.

Advertiser library photo

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LĪHU'E, Kaua'i A landowner on Kaua'i has at last received state permission to build his house atop 30 ancient Hawaiian graves.

The approval of Joseph Brescia's 16th draft of his burial treatment plan by the State Historic Preservation Division came this week, after it was rejected by the Kaua'i/Ni'ihau Island Burial Council.

Division Administrator Pua Aiu said the 16th draft provides "adequate protection" to the burials. She cited concrete caps over a number of them and special vertical buffers for one burial that sits under the spot that will one day be the home's driveway.

The state's decision is opposed by Hawaiian cultural practitioner Puanani Rogers, who told the Garden Island newspaper that the approval is "outrageous. ... Everybody knows, except them, that they're not supposed to build on a graveyard."

Brescia, a California developer, has been trying since 2001 to build a house on a 15,667-square-foot beachfront lot at Naue, on Kaua'i's north shore.

He said earlier through his archaeological consultants that covering the seven affected burials (six under the house and one under the driveway) with poured-cement caps and building the house on piers about 9 feet above ground provides acceptable "buffers" for the graves. The other 23 known burials are to be protected with rock markers and naupaka bush.