Businessman plans to develop remote Big Island tract
KONA » A Big Island businessman is planning to develop a remote tract of nearly 2,000 acres once sought by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Ken Fujiyama, chief executive officer of the land's owner, Hawaii Outdoor Tours Inc., has asked Hawaii County to approve subdividing the agriculturally zoned parcel in the rural Kau region into 90 lots.
The 1,951 acres is adjacent to the southern stretch of the national park and encompasses two miles of an 8-mile-long volcanic feature known as the Great Crack. Scientists believe the crack -- 50 feet across and 66 feet deep -- was created when lava was expanded by an intrusion of magma.
The National Park Service had sought to acquire the property from Fujiyama in 1988. But the parties couldn't agree on a price during several years of negotiations. Under federal law, the park service cannot pay more than the appraised value of a piece of land.
Two years later, Fujiyama subdivided the land into five lots ranging in size from 27 acres to 1,537 acres. He is now requesting that the county permit him to consolidate those lots and then subdivide them again into 89 lots of 20 acres each. A 90th lot would contain 44 acres of roads for the proposed subdivision, as well as a road leading several miles in from the region's main thoroughfare, Highway 11.
County Planning Director Chris Yuen said Fujiyama has several permits to acquire before the subdivision is approved, including a permit for a project in a special management area near a shoreline. About 102 acres of the land are in a conservation district, which would require a use permit from the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.
Yuen said his department is concerned about the need to create a water system in the area.
According to park officials, the area also contains ancient Hawaiian sites dating to A.D. 700.