Using a black bear that said "Onipaa," to remain steadfast, and "Kue," to oppose, native Hawaiians protested a home being built atop a Hawaiian cemetery last Thursday.
Kauai panel to probe construction atop graves
LIHUE » The Kauai Planning Commission said it would investigate claims made by a Kauai group that the home being built atop the cemetery in Haena is illegal.
At a commission meeting Tuesday, James Huff, one of the protesters who linked themselves together last week to stop construction at a home site at Naue Point, said the plans submitted by California businessman Joseph Brescia are not accurate.
"You have been betrayed," he added. "The plans as submitted were wrong."
Huff, who has worked in construction for decades, said the plans submitted to the Planning Commission erroneously show the location of 30 or so ancient Hawaiian burials at the property.
Huff claims that the contractor or the architect moved the Global Positioning System coordinates on the plans to keep the footings of the home from being located on top of a burial.
However, at least seven bodies were capped and interred underneath the foundation, which has already been poured. It was part of the burial plan as agreed upon in April by the Kauai Niihau Burial Council.
Using GPS technology, Huff said he mapped the property and found the known graves were in locations different from the original construction plans.
He also claims that the home's septic system will be too small for the size of the home and that the leach field will contaminate a grave.
The Planning Commission, after hearing at least two hours of testimony, unanimously voted to have the planning department investigate.
But many of the speakers, some of whom, like Huff, have spent months protesting this project, wanted the commission to issue a cease-and-desist order.
"You're going to get sued either way," Michael Sussman said. "You might as well do the right thing."
One lawsuit -- filed by Brescia against the protesters for trespass and harassment -- has a hearing on an injunction today in Circuit Court in Lihue.
Brescia, who has been trying to build a house on the property since 2002, has asked for and received permits from the Planning Commission, the Burial Council, the Kauai Building Department and others.
He has already started construction and finished the fittings, according to a letter submitted by his lawyer to the Burial Council last week.