The Maui County Planning Commission has approved the repurposing of Makawao's Fred Baldwin Memorial Home as the Lumeria Maui educational retreat by former interior designer Xorin Balbes. The vote was unanimous for the special-use permit to allow overnight guests and classes. The commission also voted 5-1 to change the state land use district boundary from agriculture to rural, which Balbes needs to gain more financing for the project.
The approval did not come without stipulations--it was passed with close to 20 conditions. Many of these came in the wake of debate over whether Balbes will build a luxury boutique hotel or an educational retreat. Visitors who stay in the center will be required to take classes.
Balbes plans to construct a 6,000-square-foot classroom with courses such as identifying medicinal plants, Maui agriculture, yoga, surfing, Hawaiian culture and metaphysics. He is also planning a 30-by-60-foot therapeutic pool.