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  From The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 27, 2004

Agreement helps clear way to rebuild Wailua resort

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE Rebuilding the historic Coco Palms Resort in Wailua cleared a major hurdle yesterday at the Kauai Planning Commission when a representative of native Hawaiians agreed not to oppose it.

Avery Youn, who had filed a petition to intervene in the Planning Commission hearing on whether to grant a permit to rebuild the hotel, withdrew his petition. He filed it on behalf of himself and all others with Hawaiian blood.

A well-known architect and former county planning director, Youn and developer Richard Weiser, the South Carolina developer who plans to spend $200 million to rebuild the resort, said they had reached agreement on all the issues raised by Youn in his petition.

"It's not an agreement between him and me, it's an agreement between him and the public," Youn said. "Withdrawing my petition, I'm sure, eliminates a lot of time and headache. "I was confident I could have held up the permit for at least a year," Youn said after the meeting.

He added Weiser proved much easier to negotiate with than he expected and the dispute was resolved within two weeks.

Youn's primary concern was who would control four sites on the Coco Palms property: The 2,000-tree coconut grove, the lagoons at the hotel, the parking lot at the hotel entrance and the land surrounding the Seashell restaurant on the beach across Kuhio Highway from the hotel.

The coconut grove -- the largest in Hawaii -- is state land leased by the resort. Weiser agreed to allow public access equal to the access granted to hotel guests and condominium owners.

Similarly, Weiser agreed to allow equal access to the lagoons, which are on hotel property. He also agreed to apply to the state for designation of the lagoons as historic property. They once were owned by Deborah Kapule, the last queen of Kauai and widow of King Kaumualii.

Although there are many burial sites on the property, Youn said he is confident that state laws and the Kauai Burial Commission will ensure any remains discovered will be properly treated.

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