“Pave Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot?”

It is said the inspiration for singer, songwriter Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi,  containing those lyrics, “pave paradise, put up a parking lot,” came to her as she was flying into Honolulu decades ago, and saw the heavy construction below. Are we experiencing this today on Maui at Ulua Beach Park, as decades old trees are removed from the County parking area to make more parking places, in conjunction with commercial development next door?


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14 Responses to ““Pave Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot?””

  1. yep….time and progress (read that development) wait for no one…I used to go camping there…we used to launch dive boats from there…alas…basket full of puppies…basket full of puppies…basket full of…sigh…

  2. What an absolute shame! Who made this decision? Why is there such a devaluing of habitat for all the creatures who lived in those trees. It was such a shady nice parking lot and there is a giant parking lot at the shops of Wailea that people could park in. I am just appalled by the lack of environmental concern. Not to mention the direct impact all of this construction will have on Hawaii’s most precious resource: our coral reefs. Who is making these decisions?

  3. The work along the beach park is installing a new drainage system to accommodate the run-off from mauka properties and the ravines further up on the maountain. The additional parking stalls (25) are for the beach access parking, which are badly needed as Ulua sees alot of usage by divers, snorkelers, and beachgoers. The beach parking lot will also have a drainage filtration system installed to protect the ocean, as well as the removal of concrete at the bottom of the access and more amenities added.
    As for trees, the developer has saved many of the trees from their property in an offsite nursery to transplant back into the property later, unfortunately some trees could not be kept, but will be replaced like those in the beach access.
    It is always a good idea to ask question before making comments.

  4. Mahalo for your comment & inquiry Karen. We are communicating with various County departments to try to ascertain answers. Preliminary indications we have indicate that as part of the Rennaisance reconstrution, permits , including SMA, due to location, require developer expand the parking area by 29 spaces and possibly improve landscaping. Some may ask how you improve mature 40 year old shade trees. Apparently this involoved cooperation with the County Planning and Parks Departments. S Maui Councilmember Couch is aware & communcating the the administration. This is all we have at this time. Aloha.

  5. Yes, Ulua Park did see a lot of traffic from snorklers, beach goes, and divers, but not now. Take a drive down and see for your self how our tax dollars are being used. Low priority projects that consume our resources to the point we can’t even repair county streets. Anyone driven down S. Kihei lately? And don’t be consoled by the notion that 30-40 year old trees can survive being dug up and “saved” for a new spot because this just will not happen. Check out Maui County’s drained budget or go view the video of the last KCS Meeting’s guest speaker from the County of Maui.) For everyone’s information new parking lots can be designed to accommodate trees of the kind in Ulua Park. We need to take a new approach here and stop removing our mature trees and destroying nature habitat. And don’t try to tell me the trees will be replaced because a mature Monkey Pod tree cannot be replaced, not in my lifetime or most of yours. Ulua Park was just the best small, out of the way, cool, shady park. Now look at it. What has happed there belongs in the “What were we thinking” category. Something is terribly wrong and we need to face it sooner than later. Ask questions, the previous comment wrote, too late for that. Wake up Maui.

  6. I would like to know how many trees were saved? Where are they? Are they the Monkeypod trees?
    Also after reading all the documents sent to me from the Planning dept. It seems the drain is next to the parking area ramp; the parking area was torn up; the trees were removed to fit more parking in. Too bad the develper couldn’t have given some land for the parking for the beach park instead of destroying the beautiful shady parking area. Also I was told Monkeypod trees wont’ be put back in the parking area. So we will end up with Medium size trees that don’t have large enough crowns to really shade well.
    I did read about the drainage filtration which is great. Don’t want to ruin any more reefs along our island.
    This shouldn’t of happen.

  7. First of all, the beach access renovation is not being done with taxpayer money, not a dime. And the community association in Wailea has been maintaining the County parks & lots (Polo, Wailea, Ulua, Keawakapu, and Kilohana Park) for years at no cost to the taxpayers.
    Divers, beach goers, etc. will continue to use this beach when the project is completed and there will be less complaints about a lack of parking. The developer is using some of their property for the additional parking and is required to have additional public beach parking available on their property when completed.
    It was never said that the mature monkeyppods from the lot were being saved but that every effort was being made to save as many trees as possible (palms, poinciana, shower, orchid, Hau, etc.) from their property. Besides the additional parking stalls, the lot and road will be repaved, re-landscaping of the area including new shade trees in the lot, removal of unnecessary concrete at the bottom of the drive, addition of a second shower for divers, picnic tables and bbqs, shade trees transplanted from the construction site, repairs to the restrooms, etc.
    This “small, out of the way” park is heavily used and there have been many complaints over the years that there was not enough parking. Wait until the park is renovated instead making rash judgements.

  8. I stand by my original comments. You are not informed. The County budget is definitely impacted by Ulua Park tree chopping and construction as a results of countless hours of employee time processing permits, reading documents, attending meetings, driving county vehicles to and from the site, making site inspections and providing legal services and opinions. I assume you understand that all of this costs the County money. Besides, this is a low priority item that takes time and resources away from major County needs. The list can be endless so please, saying it does not cost the taxpayers is an incorrect statement. As for omplaints about parking, I haven’t heard or read about numerous complaints about parking at Ulua. How many have you personally heard and what role do you play in counting complaints (just asking)? What about parking at the huge parking lot at the Shops? There simply is no excuse for chopping mature trees without allowing input from the tax paying public? I wonder how many complaintants would say, chop a big tree so I can park my car? Something is not right here and your admonishments are condesending and inappropriate. Come to the KCA meetings and you can be better informed, at least about this topic.

  9. The issue is clear, the trees ramp, & parking area should have been left as is since, the hotel property is giving additional parking spaces to beach users as mention by Bud. This Bud is the president of Wailea Community Association.
    The value of large healthy shade trees outweighs a few added parking spaces.Those were about 40 year old Monkeypod trees. So now we have to wait how long for the new trees to provide shade & also I was told by the Maui County Planning Department that they will not be large shade trees planted like Monkeypod so the shade that was destroyed will never be back……
    The picnic tables, showers, etc could of still happen even the repaving without destroying the parking area.
    We need to save our trees and care for them properly.

  10. I am the GM of the Wailea Community Association, which reviewed all the plans in for the Andaz in detail, and more informed about this than you or apparently the KCA, which didn’t bother to ask about this prior to posting the intial comments. I have personally received dozens of calls and emails from Maui residents over the years about the lack of parking. Because WCA maintains the County property in Wailea, at a substantial cost (saving the taxpayers millions a year), we get the calls because people beleive we own them. I have spoken to the dive personnel that frequent the area and to County Parks.
    The County budget is not affected by the park renovation as the plans were drawn up by architects paid for by the developer and submitted with the overall SMA request for the Andaz Hotel. The WCA Design Committee, made up of architects, community members and an attorney, review every plan for development in Wailea prior to it going to the County, saving the Planning Dept. hours of review time as we ask the same questions and get the plans refined to save the County time & money.
    No one has had to come down to the site specifically for the park reno or do any additional work due to the park plans. Do you personally know otherwise, no!
    And to state that people going to the beach can park in the Shops is incorrect as it is private property. I don’t think you would accept someone parking in the beach access to go shopping? I certainly don’t, and work with the resort properties to keep the beach access for beachgoers and not resort employees or shoppers.
    Although no one wants to see trees removed, and we are not happy that they were, sometimes it is unfortunately unavoidable. WCA maintains all the Monkeypod trees lining the County roadways in Wailea and have always done our best to preserve them (i.e. a few years ago the County had to do some work in the median and their arborist called for the removal of one of the trees, we brought in another arborist and our staff found another way to complete the work without removing the tree) but sometimes the root systems are so massive that the trees will be irreparably damaged when the roots are cut to access cables, sewers, etc.(many of the trees were planted years ago without protective barriers which would prevent root intrusion). And as for replacing trees, I have witnessed monkeypods that WCA replaced (on Okolani and Ike), due to storms taking them out, growing to a large full tree in less than 5 years.
    We have been discusing the replacement trees with Parks and whatever shade trees they decide will work best we will make sure the developer puts in with proper root barriers to protect the trees and surrounding utilities, curbs, etc.
    If anyone would like to know what Wailea Community Association really does, please contact me and I would be happy to have you stop by our office.

  11. Let me see, the previous commenter seems to be an authority on the facts surrounding Ulua tree distruction, has all the answers, knows for a fact that no County of Maui folks have been out to the site, and whatsmore, is an authority on trees and what is best for them. Maybe we don’t need County government anymore. Wen can just let he and his organization run the show. I think they may already be calling the shots. One last point and I’m done. Ulua Park trees were on County Property, not Wailea property, and as a resident and taxpayer, I do not support what has happened there and as I said before, I stand by my comments and concerns. Stop chopping trees to put up parking lots.

  12. Bud, thanks for all the great information. I have to say it was heartbreaking and shocking to see those beautiful old trees come down, but it is a relief to hear that plans for new trees are in the works.

  13. Robert Bobby Baker February 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Why doesn’t the hotel(s) provide real close to beach parking for hundreds or even thousands of our residents?
    Why isn’t (hasn’t) TRUE beach access to all Maui’s residents in the form of parking places close to all our beaches required in order to get the permits to build ANYTHING next to the beach? How many kickbacks did it take to close our beaches to the public and sold to developers. “Public” has long been defined as commercial, residential and yes, tourists. We are the public and Maui county government has always ripped us off!

  14. Has anybody noticed the replanting of the trees once removed from the construction site at the Andaz? The mature monkeypods are back as well as palms and other trees that were taken care of at a nursery until they could be replanted. Nice to see them back where they belong.
    And how about the 16 new trees at Ulua beach! They should grow into nice shade trees for the new parking lot and grassy area.