No Surprise; Council LUC Approves A & B 600 in No. Kihei

UPDATE 7/3/14- With no significant changes, the Land Use Committee of the County Council approved the necessary land use changes to to give A & B the OK to build 600 so called affordable homes, mostly condos, atop an already crowded congested Kaiwahine . Setting a condition for an exit to some vague possible future road mauka of the project with no timeline means little, if A & B decides to begin building.

See Maui News report:

Council LUC panel OKs development changes

Committee adds list of conditions to proposal for north Kihei project

July 3, 2014
By MELISSA TANJI – Staff Writer (mtanji@mauinews.com) , The Maui News

With a list of conditions, the Maui County Council’s Land Use Committee on Wednesday recommended approval of community plan amendments and zoning changes to allow for the development of A&B Properties’ proposed 600-unit housing project in north Kihei.

At the heart of the panel’s discussion was how to alleviate traffic on the project’s main thoroughfare, Kaiwahine Street. The street already serves as a major access road to a subdivision, and the two developments would share Kaiwahine Street as an access to Piilani Highway.

To deal with the traffic impacts, the panel required that A&B have another in-and-out access point on the mauka side of the project, which will be near the county’s Hale Piilani Park, said Council Member Don Couch after the meeting.

Couch, who holds the South Maui residency seat, was particularly concerned about traffic issues raised by many testifiers at meetings over the past year. But after several meetings and lengthy discussions on the traffic issues, the panel recommended approval – with conditions – of a community plan amendment from agriculture to multifamily, single-family and commercial designations. The committee also recommended approval for a change in zoning from agriculture to apartment, residential and community business districts.

The project now heads to the full council for approval.

The $220 million project calls for building a range of housing from single-family homes to multifamily flats and townhouses. The project would cover about 94.3 acres mauka of Piilani Highway between Kaiwahine Street and Mokulele Highway.

Conceptual plans presented earlier this year included a 1.4-acre commercial center, which A&B’s representatives said may include a convenience store or small shops, and a 7-acre park with a neighborhood recreation center.

A&B officials have said that the company aims to have housing units range from $300,000 to $600,000 in price and targeted for sale to working families.

To address traffic concerns, Couch said that the committee required A&B to provide vehicular access points between the development and any future collector road or potential mauka bypass.

While still not happy about the project with its traffic issues, Couch said he voted in favor of the land use changes because many future developments in the area, when they are built, will allow A&B opportunities for more access to the project.

Couch said he liked the idea of affordable housing and noted that some residents in the area also said they wouldn’t mind waiting a little longer at a traffic signal if it meant more affordable housing.

A&B’s conceptual plan also proposes traffic improvements at the Kaiwahine Street and Piilani Highway intersection and another nearby road.

In another condition, the committee called for A&B to get started on the project in the next 10 years. If the developer does not move on the project by then, the council will bring back the developers for discussion on how to proceed, Couch said.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

UPDATE 7/2/14  As forecast,  (below) this afternoon a hearing was scheduled, and  KCA once again submitted similar testimony recommending against this projects. Since we have no information of  even minimal modifications, our objections remain the  same. There were less than ten public testifiers divided in support or not. While we were unable to remain for all deliberations, so unclear of final outcome, the committee seemed most concerned about traffic.

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UPDATE 3/19/14    Once again the Maui Council Land Use Committee (LUC) conducted a hearing on this proposed No Kïhei Development and again your Association presented both written and oral testimony to state our numerous objections to it, and once again the committee reached no decision. It is not expected to be discussed again until this summer., June, 2014.

UPDATE  This afternoon (2/5/14) the County Council’s Land Use Committee (LUC) scheduled a hearing concerning a 600 unit residential (mostly condos) project, proposed by Alexander & Baldwin (A&B), to be built mauka of the Pi’ilani Hwy                 near the mauka end of Kaiwahine, which would provide the only access to/ from the highway. See agenda http://www.co.maui.hi.us/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/18707.

Your Association submitted testimony objecting to the proposed zoning change and Community Plan (KMCP) amendment, both of which are required for the project going forward. Our objection is based on a number of factors, including no elementary school, no connectivity to other areas, overwhelming vehicular traffic both on local neighbor streets and the highway, and other infrastructure shortcoming, such as water and sewage. Without adequate infrastructure, a development violates the KMCP, and to merely change the plan to fit the development defeats the purpose of the plan in the first place.

About a dozen testifiers participated, including a few neighborhood guys, who all expressed reservations. A few reps of building trade unions, including one from Oahu, offered support. As best we could tell, the support came from people who do not live in the area of the proposed project

We were unable to remain for the entire meeting, when the Committee deliberated, and heard from the various County Departments Directors, but all indications were that there would be no vote by the committee today. Look for a professional report of the meeting in the Maui Weekly,and report in Maui News here.

Traffic, entry point are issues with Kihei project

February 6, 2014
By MELISSA TANJI – Staff Writer (mtanji@mauinews.com) , The Maui News
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WAILUKU – Increased traffic and having only one entry-exit point appear to be major sticking points for Maui County Council members reviewing A&B Properties’ proposed 600-unit housing project in north Kihei.

Community members and some council members voiced concern over the project’s only main thoroughfare, which would be through Kaiwahine Street. That street already serves as a major access road to a subdivision. Both the proposed project and the current neighborhood would share Kaiwahine to get to and from Piilani Highway, which would increase traffic at an already congested intersection, residents maintain.

Council Member Don Couch, who holds the South Maui residency seat, shared residents’ concerns about traffic problems. He asked testifiers at a meeting Wednesday if having an intersection that is “not as safe as could be” outweighed the need for affordable housing.

He got a mixed reaction with some testifiers. Some said they trusted reports and analysis by experts that deem the area safe enough. Others said they didn’t see a traffic issue, and others expressed a need for another access road besides Kaiwahine.

On Wednesday, the council’s Land Use Committee deferred action on A&B’s request for a community plan amendment from agriculture to multifamily, single-family and commercial designation. The developer also is seeking a change in zoning from agriculture to apartment, residential and community business districts.

The next committee meeting on the matter is tentatively set for March 19.

The $220 million project calls for building a range of housing from single-family homes to multifamily flats or townhouses. The project would cover about 94.3 acres mauka of Piilani Highway between Kaiwahine Street and Mokulele Highway.

Conceptual plans include a 1.4-acre commercial center, which A&B’s representatives said may include a convenience store or small shops and a 7-acre park with a neighborhood recreation center.

A&B officials have said that the company aims to have the first houses available for sale by 2018. Units would range from $300,000 to $600,000 in present-day market conditions and be targeted for sale to working families.

When asked about the project’s single access point after the meeting, A&B Properties Vice President Grant Chun said that the project as designed currently has only one way in and out for motorists, but, in the future, a road could be developed mauka of the project as another way in and out for subdivision residents.

To mitigate traffic, A&B’s conceptual plan proposes a widening of the intersection at Kaiwahine Street and Piilani Highway; adding a new double left-turn lane out of Kaiwahine heading south on Piilani; a new left-turn lane from Piilani onto Kaiwahine; and a new dedicated left-turn lane on Uwapo Road turning onto Piilani. The developer would also build a new eastbound left-turn lane on Kaiwahine entering into the project.

Committee Vice Chairman Don Guzman, who chaired the meeting, noted that the state is not allowing any new right-hand turns in or out of Kaiwahine. A map of the project only shows one right-hand turn in and one out of Kaiwahine Street to Piilani Highway.

The state Department of Transportation is recommending seven project conditions, which include having the “mitigative transportation improvements” at the intersection of Piilani and Kaiwahine and Uwapo Road completed prior to home occupancy.

The department also wants a redone transportation impact study for the development when it reaches the threshold of 70 percent occupancy.

In responding to Guzman’s request to evaluate the DOT’s recommendations, county Public Works Director David Goode said that he believed the condition to have all the road improvements done before one house is built may be too “onerous.”

He added that some conditions were redundant with requirements already in place by the state and he saw no problem with another traffic study being done.

But, like the testifiers, a Fire Department official and some council members, Goode said that he, too, would like to see another exit or entrance on the mauka side of the development.

“It’s better for all (county) departments. . . . It’s better for all people, too,” he said.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

 

 

Don Guzman

Don Guzman

 

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