Yesterday morning a meeting of the State Land Use Commission (LUC) was held at the request of the land owners to offer the LUC a â€œstatus reportâ€ on the North Kihei land mauka of the Pi’ilani highway near Kaonoulu.
KCA was the first of eight to submit public testimony, but before that began, the process opened to offer the attorneys to voice their input, commencing with Mr Sakumoto speaking to the petitioners, Pi’ilani Promenade. He spoke extensively going back to 1995 and the original LUC decision on a request for land use change from Agricultural to Urban. Whatever his intent, we felt (and we believe the Commission did as well): wow twenty three years, nothing done, and now another new beginning?
He continued describing the latest rep Mr Harry Lake, CEO for Koa Partners, and his outreach to community. (For the record KCA met with him in two stakeholders meeting this year in Feb and June, as openly reported on our website.) He then mentioned that the petitioners would like four legal actions taken as part of the process. Clearly we are not attorneys, but we do recall it took legal challenges by intervenors to stop what were illegal intended activities, and believe that those judicial decisions are still in place.
Several commissioners had questions, led strongly by Dawn Chang, Edmund Aczon and Gary Okuda. Maui’s Lee Ohikasi asked about a timetable going forward, and received a very vague answer. He followed questioning if their latest plan won’t work, is their an alternative, and reply was they do not know. A question on expected total cost also indicated they have no estimate.
We then perceived a sense of cumulative frustration from the commission. Over twenty some years; a request for this meeting to offer â€œstatusâ€; but seemingly no resolution in sight.
The volunteer commissioners agreed to conduct this meeting for a status report, gathering and traveling to Maui for that express purpose. Perhaps the commission expected to hear a proposal update from Harry Lake of Koa Partners, the stated representative of land owner Sarofim Realty of Dallas, Texas, but all they received was a professional booklet containing information that was presented at the second stakeholders meeting, some of which was shown in our report. SEE https://gokihei.org/volunteer/what-is-next-for-the-piilani-promenade-aka-megamall.
Conversely, the lawyer for Honua’ula (Wailea 670) Mr Kubota only said they were mostly in agreement with whatever the larger group decided!
For Maui County, neither the new Director or Deputy Director were present and representation was left to deputy Corp Council Michael Hopper. He was accompanied by senior planner Ann Kua, but she offered no input.
The State Office of Planning comments were also exceedingly brief, but last was attorney Tom Pierce for the intervenors, who spoke of the â€œshow cause order,â€ why it was requested and granted, and recap of action since 2012.
For KCA, our position remains that whatever is proposed to be constructed here needs major support infrastructure, as our community plan states, concurrent with development. Until then, nothing should be built. Next ensure that both cultural and environmental concerns are addressed and satisfied; after that we also see that a community plan amendment is a reasonable tool to achieve something better for our community, much needed housing, not more industrial nor commercial . So much has changed over the decades. Our community is united in seeing the prime need in development is housing for our residents, so truly affordable housing for the working class living here. A mix of rentals and purchased homes, possibly senior housing, which can be infused with some support businesses . Such development must have reasonable, safe connectivity to the high school, especially walking and bicycling away from the highway.
There may be a future LUC meeting on this matter on 9/12/18.
Look for a professional report of yesterday’s meeting upcoming in the Maui News.