Yes, Makena is certainly part of our South Maui district, and community interest is very strong, so four KCA directors arrived at the doomed Hotel before 9:00 AM on Wednesday morning ( 5/18/16) to join the seven participating Commissioners and several staff members, Planning Commissioner William Spence, Corp Counsel, numerous representatives of the involved corporate entities, ATC Makena and Discovery Land, planning consultant Munekiyo & Hiraga and several interested community members.
When applying for and Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Special Management Area (SMA) use permit for a new Makena Resort around the site of the now closing Makena Golf & Beach Resort, ATC Makena Holdings went before this Commission earlier this year, were met with a tidal wave of testifiers (including KCA) in opposition, many calling for a full Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The Commissioners deferred the matter , seemingly to gather more information, and in response ATC extended an invitation for this site visit, which the Commissioners accepted.
So there we were. Discovery conducted the meeting, and we found them very accommodating and welcoming to everyone. For the public we were required to follow the rules on the Commission, which meant no questions of anyone during both the bus and walking tours of the area, so it was observing and trying to hear Commissioner’s questions and Discovery’s responses.
Unfortunately we went in with the misunderstanding there would be no public testimony, (which we thought would be illegal, but we are amateurs ) as reading the agenda from A,”Call to Order,” to D. “Adjournment”, there was no mention of public testimony. We took adjournment meaning suspend proceedings, to mean the meeting was pau. But in the information list below with all legal requirements, sure enough it did say testimony.
That said once it was announced that Commission public testimony would be taken, several guys said our piece, including two from KCA, one quoted in informative article by M. Tanji (below) TBC
New Makena resort plans cutbacks to preserve views
May 19, 2016
MAKENA – Buildings are being eliminated and the color scheme and other aesthetics are being altered in development plans to address public opposition to the Makena Resort’s proposed 47-acre, 158-home and commercial project.
The changes stem from public comments and concerns expressed early this year about resort development plans, according to officials with Discovery Land Co., development manager for resort owner ATC Makena Holdings.
During a Jan. 26 meeting, Maui Planning Commission members had been asked for comments on the property owners’ draft environmental assessment, but the meeting also became a forum for airing strong public opposition to the resort development plans. Opposition included concern about overdevelopment of luxury properties in Makena, traffic congestion, reef damage from nearshore pollution and a lack of affordable housing for residents.
A “story pole” (at left) along the mauka side of Makena Alanui Road shows the maximum height of a building in the area for a proposed housing and commercial project in Makena. Project officials say building heights would vary and that the maximum height shown by the poles does not necessarily reflect the height of the building at that point on the land nor does it reflect the height of an entire building because rooflines would vary in different places. The Pu‘u Ola‘i large cinder cone can be seen in the background.
The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photo
Now, to preserve and enhance public views of the ocean, Discovery has removed two six-unit, multifamily buildings from project plans and replaced them with two single-family home lots.
During a planning commission site inspection Wednesday, Discovery Land partner Ed Divita and other project officials noted the spaces between the planned buildings open up ocean views from Makena Alanui Road.
Divita said plans for the buildings’ style have changed from contemporary, which would have called for white buildings, to one that would be more “place appropriate” with “earth tones” as urged by the Maui County Urban Design Review Board.
Revised design plans add basalt stones to the bottom of buildings.
Divita said the buildings are not parallel to Makena Alanui Road, thereby providing a better view from the road.
All of the project’s buildings go beyond what the county recommends for setbacks from Makena Alanui Road, Divita added.
At the project site, developers erected “story poles” to demonstrate maximum building heights in various parts of the property. They said building heights would vary and rooflines would not all reach the maximum height. The project site is on a slope, with the higher grade nearest Makena Alanui Road.
A 35,000-square-foot commercial project, nearest the Makena Golf & Beach Resort, will include a cultural interpretive center with historical features and cultural artifacts. And there will be a general store and shops, which would create a “center” in Makena for people to gather and drink coffee, for example.
“We want the best possible project for the site,” Divita said.
The commission took public testimony after the site visit, which drew about 40 people. Some testifiers expressed concern about makai-to-mauka views, while others testified about possible culturally sensitive areas and how project site runoff could impact Makena Bay.
Others said the project’s environmental studies should go further, and the project should be subject to an environmental impact statement, which is more extensive than an environmental assessment.
Patricia Stillwell said she was concerned about runoff sediment during the grading phase of the project and what would happen if there were a “torrential rain.”
She said she hoped the project wouldn’t change the character of old Makena Road/Makena-Keoneoio Road makai of the project.
“It’s so wild and free,” she said of the road area. “It’s the last place in South Maui you feel you are in the wilderness. I would like to see that protected.”
ATC Makena is working on its final environmental assessment for the $355 million project proposed on vacant land between Makena Alanui Road, mauka of the site, and Makena-Keoneoio Road, also known as Old Makena Road, makai. To the south of the project is the Makena Golf & Beach Resort, and Na Hale O Makena condominiums is to the north.
Project plans call for buildings two- to four-stories high, with taller structures closer to Makena Alanui Road. Plans include commercial and recreational areas, swimming pools and open space.
After a planning commission site inspection Wednesday, Divita said he expected to have the final environmental assessment ready in July or August, although he hoped it would be done sooner.
When the assessment is completed, members of the public will have another opportunity to comment on it.
ATC Makena is seeking a special management area permit for the project to proceed.
The resort owner already has announced plans to close the Makena Beach & Golf Resort’s 310-room hotel on July 1 to make way for the development of the new Makena Golf & Beach Club, a private beachfront community and club. The resort’s golf course and restaurant will remain open.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at email@example.com.