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We Need Smarter Growth

Building more when we are short of water is short-sighted.

September 24, 2009
Commentary contributed by Hermine Harman · Kīhei

Yes we need jobs, but smart growth, infill and senior housing projects—especially projects that have water supplies contained within their own property—are what should be approved. Having sat on the Maui County Health Initiative Task Force as chair of the Home and Community Based Services Committee, I know that we are already in trouble because of the “Tsunami of Aging” that is occurring. But numbers will triple over the next 20 years. We do not have communities for elders to age in place, and many of us cannot depend on family to care for us. Some are already moving to the Mainland. Intentional communities, such as O‘ahu and the Mainland, have what is needed on Maui for all levels of income. Hale Mahaolu has waiting lists of hundreds for each of their sites.

Pi‘iholo South next to Makawao has offered 60 acres to build 200 units dedicated to seniors and yet cannot achieve approval. Now it is the Catholic Church’s opportunity to yeah or nay the project.

When the glaring need in Maui from the priorities of the task force is for more senior housing, we should be encouraging development of these projects island-wide, especially when sufficient water is onsite.



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