It was a full house at the Tuesday, Jan. 17, meeting of the Kihei Community Association (KCA), with over 85 people gathered to hear Maui County Director of Public Works David Goode's talk about his plans for bike paths, sidewalks, road improvements and flood mitigation in Kihei.
Led by KCA President Jon Miller, Goode was questioned about flooding, the status of the North-South Collector Road, bike paths, monkeypod tree preservation and street safety.
"We seem to be building culverts and sending water straight into the ocean," Miller told Goode.
Kihei Community Association President Jon Miller asks Maui County Department of Public Works Director David Goode if anything can be done about flooding in South Kihei. “We seem to be building culverts and sending water straight into the ocean,” he told Goode.
"What we have to do is try to work with what we have," Goode responded. He said that erosion is happening and it is being accelerated by manmade activities.
"We can't ask everyone to move out of Kihei," Goode told the audience. "That is impractical. We are dealing with a built environment."
In addition to fixing culverts to mitigate flooding by the old Suda Store in North Kihei and enlarging culverts where flooding occurred last winter, Goode said his department is working on a Kihei Drainage Master Plan, and that it will "take a couple of more years to get a grasp on it."
Regarding roads in South Maui, Goode revealed that his department intends to ask the Maui County Council to fund a traffic study to determine how many lanes are needed for current and projected traffic in Kihei.
We need to show the feds how many lanes it takes to meet the needs of Kihei," he said. "Does it take two lanes or four lanes?"
According to Goode, Maui County needs to provide this information for the federal government so the U.S. Department of Transportation will pay 80 percent of the cost of South Kihei Road improvements. Otherwise, Maui County would have pay the entire cost.
In response to Miller's question about bike paths in Kihei, Goode said that this year, the county would begin building a bike path behind Maui Schooner Resort between the condos and the ocean.
The controversial monkeypod trees are located along South Kihei Road in front of the Maui Schooner condos. Goode kicked the can down the road as far as he could regarding the controversial trees.
Miller asked, "How far along are you in designing the street (South Kihei Road) and keeping those trees?" Goode replied, "We need to complete the traffic plan or it is useless to proceed."
It was the same answer when Miller pressed Goode about a four-lane South Kihei Road. "I don't know," Goode replied. "I need to see what the study says."
When it came to the issue of bicycle safety, Miller told Goode that "it feels very dangerous to ride a bicycle on South Kihei Road."
Goode said that he did not know how many accidents had occurred on bike paths in Kihei and if the number would be above or below the national average.
"Every accident is terrible," he said.
"Our engineers look at the trade-offs and make the best decision they can," Goode continued.
The meeting also included an update by County Councilmember Don Couch that focused on the proposed alcohol ban in Cove Park and in Kalama Park. Couch said he still wanted to hear from more people, and urged those with an opinion one way or another to contact his office.
(Editor's note: Since the KCA meeting, the Maui County Council has given unanimous approval to the proposed ban on first reading. The bill is expected to have a second and final reading in February and council observers expect it to pass.)
In addition to the alcohol ban, Couch reported on the current status of the short-term rental legislation, saying he is "hearing from a lot of people and that he is trying to make it work for everybody."
Architect Ron Agor introduced his Kihei Wellness Center project, a proposed 23,745-square-foot building with "a residential look," where professionals can engage in wellness activities. According to Agor, the site has already been designed to address flooding concerns.
KCA members have not taken a stand on the project. The application for change in zoning and a Special Management Area (SMA) permit has been submitted with public hearing expected in 60 days. All of the project documents are on file on the KCA Website.