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Wednesday, July 26, 2000

study for Kona
project knocked

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent


KAILUA-KONA -- The Sierra Club is criticizing an environmental study for a proposed 660-acre residential and agricultural project in South Kona called Keopuka Lands.

But project manager Bill Moore said the purpose in releasing a draft of the study is to receive such comments and to respond.

Keopuka Lands is slightly north of Kealakekua Bay, but not fronting onto the bay. The property is owned by Pacific Star LLC, whose principal officer, Lyle Anderson of Scottsdale, Ariz., is also developing the 1,540-acre Villages of Hokukano just north of Keopuka.

Although the coastal part of the property receives 50 inches of rain per year, the area is nearly barren lava rock.

Only 10 percent of the property can support agriculture, the environmental study said. Moore said agriculture is planned only in that fertile upland area. Homeowners in the downslope community association will be mandated to pay subsidies to the agricultural ventures.

The residential area will be 125 lots of one to two acres, but development will be allowed on only a half-acre within any lot. The project also includes an 18-hole golf course and a 100-unit, hotel-like "hale" open only to community members and their guests.

The Sierra Club says the community will be gated, making public access difficult. Moore said gating is possible, but shoreline access will be permitted and increased by the creation of a shoreline trail.

The club said the extent of the use of explosives is not disclosed. Moore said archaeologists will check areas before explosives are used and earth moving is done.

A public presentation on the project by the developer is set for 6:30 p.m. today at Konawaena High School cafeteria.

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