Recap of Nov 16 Community Meeting on R & T Park

Meeting at the R & T Park site, about sixty community members unanimously voted in the 2011 KCA BOD, a presentation on the Master Plan Update of the Research and Technology Park Development was offered by Steve Perkins, Mike Summers and Peter Calthorpe. A lively Q & A session followed, before President Jon Miller closed the meeting, announcing the first meeting for the new year on 1/18/11 at our new permanent home at the Kihei Charter Middle School.

See the Projects Planning Committee Page With Associated Documents

Please see a professional report from the Maui Weekly Below:

Work Continues on Tech Park Master Plan

Community receives briefing of South Maui project. “…not all development is bad—different kinds of growth will work here.”

Trisha Smith, Maui Weekly

Although one of the most sophisticated business and scientific vocation locales on the island, the Maui Research & Technology Park (MRTP) in Kihei remains a mystery to many since its initial development nearly two decades ago.

Home to the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and aerospace and computer research experts such as Boeing and the Maui High Performance Computing Center, MRTP companies work in an array of sectors, including optics, directed energy, data fusion, space surveillance, situational awareness and software development.

Yet unless you’re a tech park employee attending a specific event or heading to Elleair Golf Course, there aren’t many reasons to make the uphill trek along L?poa Parkway. But if design and planning firms working on the area’s master plan update have their way, MRTP could become a mixed-use, “walkable/bikeable” community with a “village center” environment where people can gather for daily activities, own affordable housing and find work in broad career fields.

Project representatives addressed about 70 concerned citizens on Tuesday, Nov. 16, during the K?hei Community Association’s (KCA) final meeting of the year at the MEDB’s Malcolm Building.

The developer of the MRTP project is Maui R&T Partners LLC, which includes members Pacific Rim Land Inc. and Woodridge Capital Partners Inc. Chris Hart & Partners and California-based Calthorpe Associates serve as the planning and urban design consultants for the project. Representatives were on-hand during the KCA meeting to present a briefing of the MRTP’s long-awaited comprehensive master plan update that is currently “in the works.”

KCA sets forth general open space and design guidelines that all new development projects and Special Management Area reviews in the Kihei area are asked to comply with before breaking ground. MRTP project heads said they’re abiding by principles laid out, conducting in-depth research and analysis. They have not developed their green building guidelines yet, but a representative said they will provide them once they’re complete.

The development was originally entitled in the ’80s, with local private and public sector leaders focused on economic diversification and job creation in Maui County. MRTP aimed to create the “third leg of the stool,” adding technological jobs to an economy heavily reliant on tourism and agriculture. The planners agreed that with the agriculture industry steadily declining and tourism’s unpredictability, now is the time to fulfill the park’s initial goal of economic diversification.

The current and future phases of MRTP consist of over 400 acres east of Pi‘ilani Highway in Central Kihei, yet only 10 percent, or approximately 40 acres, has been developed in over two decades. With this update, developers plan to put “the park within reach of a broader range of desirable industries—and the people who work in them.”

“This development is going to change in character through the update process, but one of our main goals is that we want to be more of a part of K?hei, and when people come up that hill, they don’t feel out of place,” said MRTP Project Coordinator Steven Perkins of Pacific Rim Land.

Peter Calthorpe of Calthorpe Associates discussed his firm’s objectives for the site. The company has developed a comprehensive update of the master plan that has been highly praised by stakeholders and coordinators alike. It satisfies stated Maui County planning goals in that is seeks to include dense development that’s “walkable” and easily accessible by public transit; a mix of commercial and residential uses along with mixed housing types within neighborhoods; sustainable practices in energy, water and building; and integrates open space/parks principles as he vows they will “follow the natural contour of the land.”

Calthorpe said goals still include attracting a technological workforce, but also creating a broader range of jobs. “It is possible to have large and small businesses coexist, as well as inspire small innovative start-ups as a result,” he said.

The sharp-witted Calthorpe was named one of 25 “innovators on the cutting edge” by Newsweek Magazine for “redefining models of urban and suburban growth in America,” and in 1986, he co-published Sustainable Communities, a book that has inspired pioneering environmental design.

Calthorpe was enthusiastic about “the rare opportunity” the tech park holds. He said it is an environment that already has jobs in place, with immense potential for steady job growth. He suggested building a business hotel within the park that would accommodate industrial visitors and place them in a unique village environment where they can carry out daily activities and experience Maui’s charm.

Calthorpe has helped set trends towards the key principles of “New Urbanism,” expressing “that successful places—whether neighborhoods, villages or urban centers—must be diverse in use and user, human-scaled,” and environmentally sustainable through conservation and restoration, as well as embody connectivity.

“You’re truly living in paradise, but can’t continue to screw it up,” said Calthorpe. “Sprawling types of growth are ruining this island and it has to stop… not all development is bad—different kinds of growth will work here.”

While the master plan of MRTP is being updated and finalized over the next several years, there is land and space available in the interim for projects “that are a good fit” with the park’s future plan.

Contact Steve Perkins at stevep@pacificrimland.com to learn more about the MRTP project, and look out for a new Website, www.mauitechpark.com, which is slated to include news and master plan progress updates.

The next KCA meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 at its new, permanent home at the Kihei Charter Middle School.

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