1/26/19  The Planning Commission room overflowed with concerned residents from all regions of the island awaiting their turn to testify of the proposed Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for a single segment of the proposed revitalized development of the southernmost segment of KCA’s area..

The vast majority decided to do so in the earliest opportunity at the beginning of the 9:00 AM meeting before any presentations (KCA did this), seemingly because they could not afford to devote most of the day to participate for a three minute opportunity. KCA believes it is more effective to offer testimony when the commissioners are concentrating on the specific matter, but as an all volunteer unfunded non profit, unless it is the first agenda item, mostly we cannot.

We did remain all morning, until the Commission broke for lunch, but public testimony on the specific item was not be be taken until afternoon. But in the opening segment we counted about thirty testifying, with all we could count were against the proposed development for a wide variety of reasons, and many, like KCA, saying there was a definitive need for a full Environmental Impact Study,(EIS) not the lesser examination of the offered Assessment (EA).

For a complete professional reporting of the entire meeting, see this morning’s Maui News report.

Makena project comes under fire

Development planned on 47 acres in S. Maui

January 27, 2016
By BRIAN PERRY – City Editor (bperry@mauinews.com) , The Maui News

WAILUKU – ATC Makena Holdings came up against strong opposition Tuesday to its plans to develop 47 acres in the Makena Resort.

“How did we become foreigners on our own land?” Pukalani resident Ka’ena Elabon asked members of the Maui Planning Commission before they provided comments on the development’s draft environmental assessment.

Luxury development has been crowding out local people from places like Makena, Elabon said. “You want to make another area of Maui exclusive,” he said.

Article Photos

Makena-Keone‘o‘io Road and Honoiki Street border a section of ATC Makena Holdings’ development, which would include 58 single- and multifamily units, including some empty lots. Project access would be via Makena Alanui Road and Honoiki Street.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Commission member Richard Higashi asked Elabon if he realized that property taxes from Keawakapu to Makena generate more revenue for Maui County than all of Kahului and Wailuku.

“You realize money means nothing to me?” he responded. “We cannot take money with us. Money is nothing. . . . The aina is forever.”

Kihei resident Autumn Ness said Maui needs affordable housing, not luxury homes for wealthy off-islanders, and especially not if development brings more traffic to already congested South Maui or if silt from its storm runoff damages fragile reefs.

“It makes me cry,” she said of reef damage caused by hotel development in South Maui. “I don’t see a single benefit to local people or the environment from this project.”

Haiku resident Roger Strong called the proposed development “nothing other than a land grab against the Hawaiian people.”

“There are certain places way too precious to cut up and sell, and Makena is one of those,” he said.

A number of young Native Hawaiians asserted ancestral rights to the Makena property, with one saying that approval of the project would be “an act of war.”

Other testimony against the project focused on affordable housing, traffic impacts, shoreline access, offshore pollution from runoff, risks to marine life and whether Hawaiian cultural and archaeological sites would be identified and protected.

In all, 30 people testified. All but two of them either outright opposed development plans or wanted the developer to do a more in-depth environmental impact statement.

Makena resident Edward Chang was in favor of the development plans.

“Makena needs a community,” he said.

Also in favor was Makena resident Sam Garcia, who said that the developer had consulted the community and drafted a “very well-conceived plan,” he said. “I support it.”

During a presentation, project planning consultant Mark Roy addressed the development’s expected environmental, cultural and infrastructure impacts.

A biannual marine water quality analysis conducted in waters off Makena since the 1990s has found no significant increases in nutrient levels, he said. And, the project’s best-management-practices drain-age plans that include retention basins, among other features, would prevent harm to nearshore marine life, he said.

Archaeological preservation plans include data recovery and construction site monitoring, Roy said.

For traffic impacts, the development is projected to add 140 additional trips to South Maui’s morning peak traffic and 176 trips during the afternoon. The project’s traffic impact study showed that current roadway infrastructure would be sufficient to support the additional vehicles on the road, and no roadway improvements would be necessary, Roy said.

That assessment brought some laughter from skeptics in the audience.

Project access will be via Makena Alanui Road and Honoiki Street. Improvements to those two roads and Makena-Keone’o’io Road are proposed.

The project’s economic impacts would include 185 full-time construction jobs over five years and 63 long-term jobs after building is completed, Roy said. The development is projected to generate an additional $5.2 million annually in property tax revenue.

Later, as the commission began its deliberations, county Department of Planning Director William Spence fielded a question about whether the commission could immediately ask for an EIS. Spence told commissioners all they had before them, procedurally, was a request for comments on a draft environmental assessment.

The draft document remains open for public comment until Feb. 8, officially, although project developers said they’d respond to comments beyond that deadline. The developer will need to respond to comments in the draft environmental assessment before it is considered complete. Then, the document will return to the commission for approval.

Once in receipt of the developer’s final environmental assessment, the commission could then decide that a more extensive EIS would be required, Spence said.

Commission members had nearly 30 questions and comments for the developer to address.

For example, commission member Larry Hudson wanted to know where the development’s fresh drinking water would come from, how Hawaiian cultural sites would be treated and how ATC Makena was complying with the county’s workforce housing requirements.

Commission member Sandra Duvauchelle asked how the proposed development would fit in with plans for the region overall.

Her question followed up on testimony from Kula resident Dick Mayer. He maintained that the project before the commission was being segmented and was only a piece of a larger, overall development. The project’s 158 housing units are just a portion of 2,000 planned for the region overall, Mayer said.

ATC Makena has other property that could be developed in the region, but he said that the only project currently going forward was the one before the planning commission Tuesday.

ATC Makena Holdings is a consortium involving AREA Property Partners of New York, Trinity Investments of Honolulu, and Maui native Stanford Carr’s development firm Stanford Carr Development.

The proposed $355 million construction project runs makai of Makena Alanui Road and south of the Wailea Gold Golf Course to the Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

Plans call for building 158 single- and multifamily units, including some empty lots, and nearly 35,000 square feet of commercial area. The project includes recreational areas and four swimming pools.

In 2010, ATC Makena acquired the 1,800-acre resort property in foreclosure. A group that included developer Everett Dowling and Morgan Stanley purchased the resort from Seibu in 2007 for $565 million and spent millions more on development before going into foreclosure.

The Dowling/Morgan Stanley group was able to get 600 acres rezoned later for a new resort community, but the rezoning came with more than 40 conditions.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

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