EXCLUSIVE: Project being built at $11.5 million Diamond Head home causing controversy
Real estate website Zillow bills this home as 'the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Beautiful beach views, a pool, and the potential for private beach access is exactly what the owner has planned.
Ken Kao, a Hollywood producer and the son of co-founder of Garmin GPS owns this $11.5 million home.
Kao wants to install a tram that goes from his house to the beach, but not everyone is happy about it.
Neighbors on the Waialae-Kahala Board unanimously voted against the project.
"It's an ugly steel cage and we believe it's a desecration of Diamond Head," Rich Turbin of the Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board said. "I'm extremely upset. I'm nauseated that it wrecks the beauty of our beautiful Diamond Head."
Despite the opposition of some of their neighbors, the architect has all the proper permits from the City and County to move forward. They say everything has been done by the book.
The tray would run along this track, ending before the protected area of the beach at the bottom. Concerning claims it would be an eyesore, the architect says it won't be fully visible.
"From a visual point of view, the rails are very low profile you'll probably see the cart itself go up and down but never really see the rails," architect Jeff Long said.
He also says criticism has been unfair and says they brought in soil experts and engineers to make sure the tram wouldn't cause erosion.
"The owner is extremely sensitive to taking care of the environment and being concerned about its impact, so we have been reminded at all points that this is somethign we need to keep in mind," Long said.
Neighbors worry how many others will follow suit.
"It sets a terrible precedent that anybody can do it now. And we're gonna have more ski lifts on Diamond Head? Ski lifts on Tantalus? Ski lifts on Koko Head? Where does it stop," Turbin said.
According to permits, the cost for the project could be around $180,000. The inclinators themselves range from around $60,000 to $100,000. The architect says their goal is to have it installed by the beginning of the new year.