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Draft Environmental Assessment for Kahalu‘u Ma Kai site approved by County of Hawai‘i

Kamehameha Schools has filed a Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) for publication by the State Office of Environmental Quality Control after receiving approval from the Hawai‘i County Planning Department . This is the first step in a process to allow the Schools to proceed with timely demolition of the Keauhou Beach Hotel (KBH) and implement its vision for an educational complex at Kahalu’u Ma Kai.

An approved Final Environmental Assessment (Final EA) is required to support necessary land use entitlements for future plans for an ‘āina-based learning complex.

“This will be an educational piko for West Hawai‘i, a Hawaiian place in which opportunities for applied learning, teaching, and knowledge creation are rooted in tradition while aspiring to 21st-century innovation,” said Kaeo Duarte, Kamehameha Schools’ director of strategic initiatives in West Hawai‘i. “The potential for learning opportunities extends across a broad range of learners from this community, across the island and beyond.”

An approved Final EA will make Kamehameha’s Kahalu‘u Ma Kai project compliant with the state’s environmental review process. The publication and availability of the Draft EA on August 8th starts a 30-day period for public review via submittal of comment letters due by September 8th. The Draft EA will be made available on the State Office of Environmental Quality Control’s website, and copies distributed to agencies and other consulted parties.

“Our community ‘ohana will have a few venues through which they can offer comments, ask questions and provide input during the environmental review process,” said Allen Salavea, land planning and entitlements manager at Kamehameha Schools. “We’ll be hosting two open house meetings to share site plans and gather community mana‘o on August 13th and 14th.”

Once the environmental review process is complete and all applicable land use entitlements are obtained, demolition of KBH and proposed improvements to the site for an educational facility can be implemented.

“We’ve been in discussions with various community stakeholder groups including kūpuna, lineal descendants of the area, educational entities, Native Hawaiian organizations and government agencies for the past three years,” said Duarte. “Mana‘o from stakeholders helped us develop a preliminary conceptual site plan to serve as a guide for transforming Kahalu‘u Ma Kai into a landscape for traditional learning, and doing so in a way that honors the ‘āina and kai.”

Demolition of the vacant hotel is slated for the fall of 2015.In compliance with state, federal and county rules, Kamehameha Schools has directed contractors to carefully remove the structure to protect the near-shore ecosystem and cultural sites and has also planned for the proper recycling of demolition material.


  • August 13, 2014 - 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • August 14, 2014 - 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Both community meetings will be held at the Keauhou Shopping Center in the former Drysdale's restaurant space. For more information visit