Meeting at the R & T Park site, about sixty community members unanimously voted in the 2011 KCA BOD, a presentation on theÂ 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.
Please see a professional report from the Maui Weekly Below:
Work Continues on Tech Park Master PlanCommunity receives briefing of South Maui project. â€œâ€¦not all development is badâ€”different kinds of growth will work here.â€
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 youâ€™re a tech park employee attending a specific event or heading to Elleair Golf Course, there arenâ€™t many reasons to make the uphill trek along L?poa Parkway. But if design and planning firms working on the areaâ€™s master plan update have their way, MRTP could become a mixed-use, â€œwalkable/bikeableâ€ community with a â€œvillage centerâ€ 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 Associationâ€™s (KCA) final meeting of the year at the MEDBâ€™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 MRTPâ€™s long-awaited comprehensive master plan update that is currently â€œin the works.â€
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 theyâ€™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 theyâ€™re complete.
The development was originally entitled in the â€™80s, with local private and public sector leaders focused on economic diversification and job creation in Maui County. MRTP aimed to create the â€œthird leg of the stool,â€ adding technological jobs to an economy heavily reliant on tourism and agriculture. The planners agreed that with the agriculture industry steadily declining and tourismâ€™s unpredictability, now is the time to fulfill the parkâ€™s initial goal of economic diversification.
The current and future phases of MRTP consist of over 400 acres east of Piâ€˜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 â€œthe park within reach of a broader range of desirable industriesâ€”and the people who work in them.â€
â€œThis 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 donâ€™t feel out of place,â€ said MRTP Project Coordinator Steven Perkins of Pacific Rim Land.
Peter Calthorpe of Calthorpe Associates discussed his firmâ€™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 thatâ€™s â€œwalkableâ€ 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 â€œfollow the natural contour of the land.â€
Calthorpe said goals still include attracting a technological workforce, but also creating a broader range of jobs. â€œIt is possible to have large and small businesses coexist, as well as inspire small innovative start-ups as a result,â€ he said.
The sharp-witted Calthorpe was named one of 25 â€œinnovators on the cutting edgeâ€ by Newsweek Magazine for â€œredefining models of urban and suburban growth in America,â€ and in 1986, he co-published Sustainable Communities, a book that has inspired pioneering environmental design.
Calthorpe was enthusiastic about â€œthe rare opportunityâ€ 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 Mauiâ€™s charm.
Calthorpe has helped set trends towards the key principles of â€œNew Urbanism,â€ expressing â€œthat successful placesâ€”whether neighborhoods, villages or urban centersâ€”must be diverse in use and user, human-scaled,â€ and environmentally sustainable through conservation and restoration, as well as embody connectivity.
â€œYouâ€™re truly living in paradise, but canâ€™t continue to screw it up,â€ said Calthorpe. â€œSprawling types of growth are ruining this island and it has to stopâ€¦ not all development is badâ€”different kinds of growth will work here.â€
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 â€œthat are a good fitâ€ with the parkâ€™s future plan.
Contact Steve Perkins at email@example.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.