Solidly built home stood 13 years

It seems fitting that the Montana Beach house in Paia is being demolished an unlucky 13 years after it was built in 2001.

The once-luxurious home built with mahogany wood, slate and marble flooring, teakwood vaulted ceilings, a Jacuzzi, central air conditioning, and mango and koa wood kitchen cabinetry is coming down at the hands of workers with contractor Pacific Concrete Cutting & Coring Inc., an outfit from Lihue with experience in salvage and demolition derived from the aftermath of two hurricanes there.

They began the demolition work June 2 and expect to be finished next week, said county spokesman Rod Antone on Tuesday. The contract is for $39,950 and includes the demolition, the construction of a security fence and some landscaping.

A crew member, who wished to remain anonymous, said that aside from a few beehives, the wood is in great shape with no dry rot and that the structure is difficult to bring down because of the excellent workmanship.

The 2,500-square-foot residence, actually three structures connected by walkways, offers a cautionary tale of land-use planning gone awry.

The Planning Department had granted a special management permit exemption for the structure, built on a site designated as open space, more than a decade ago. The luxury home was completed in 2001.

When public objections surfaced, then-Planning Director John Min withdrew the waiver of the special management area permit. He determined that the property did in fact need an SMA permit. That led to state and federal lawsuits that resulted in a ruling that the county’s initial SMA waiver was in violation of state coastal zone laws.

In 2008, the county ended a six-year lawsuit by purchasing a final empty lot on the Montana Beach property as part of a $4.1 million settlement – the final piece of the acquisition that earlier included the structure and the land underneath it through settlements involving those owners.

There were proposals to use the house as a community center, to move the house and, later, to try to sell some of the luxurious pieces of the house as part of its demolition. None of those proposals panned out.

Meanwhile, the house deteriorated. Vandalism, overgrown grass, bees and rodents had their way with the structure and the property.

Last fall, the County Council approved funds for the demolition of the structure near Baldwin Beach Park, bringing finality to the saga of the Montana Beach home.

* Lee Imada can be reached at