Farmers market’s SMA permit revoked

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo Shoppers walk through the Hilo Farmers Market in 2018 in downtown Hilo,

Long-abandoned plans to build a three-story building at the Hilo Farmers Market have been formally scrapped.

The Windward Planning Commission voted Thursday to revoke a Special Management Area use permit to build a three-story commercial building at the site of the current market at the intersection of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street.

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The permit had been granted to Hilo Farmers Market LLC in 2008 and came with a deadline to complete construction within five years. That deadline was extended another five years in 2013, and expired last year. The SMA use permit was revoked at the request of Hilo Farmers Market LLC. Although no representative of the market appeared at Thursday’s meeting of the Planning Commission, owner Keith De La Cruz had previously said the plans for a building at the market were disrupted by the Great Recession, which began in 2008.

The permit was what allowed the farmers market to keep the temporary tents and tarps erected on the site in spite of their noncompliance with county codes. After the permit expired in March 2018, the farmers market was ordered to remove the tarps and tents or incur fines.

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Those fines, which reached $212,000 by October 2018, have yet to be paid, but were halted late last year when De La Cruz submitted plans for a permanent canopy over the market site. A permit for that structure was approved last month.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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