A recent commentary (Maui Weekly, Oct. 25-31) made the incorrect assertion that a meeting of the state Land Use Commission (LUC) held Aug. 24 "condemned" the developers of the Pi'ilani Promenade and found "unlawful" actions had taken place. Dramatic rhetoric--but not true.
The LUC hearing was not--repeat not--to make a judgment on allegations of non-compliance with conditions imposed by the LUC in 1995 when the land was reclassified from agriculture to urban. Instead, the hearing was to decide if a second hearing would be held to further explore the issue. The LUC decided it wanted more information and a second hearing is set for November. Currently, it is important to remember that the opponent's arguments remain as allegations and not as a finding of fact by the LUC.
Here are the facts. The project was approved by the Maui County Planning Commission, Maui County Council, and the LUC, and was the subject of three public meetings in Kihei, plus all the meetings of the bodies just mentioned were open and testimony was invited from the public.
In every case, the amount of retail space--a permitted use under Maui County light industrial zoning rules-- was discussed and each body declined to put a cap on the amount of retail space, preferring to let the market place make that decision at a later date.
We respectfully invite and appreciate continued public discussion on the Pi'ilani Promenade. We have held meetings with the Kihei Community Association Planning Committee, local retail business owners and the Maui Chamber of Commerce, Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Maui Contractors Association, among others, and we will continue to hold additional community meetings in the future.
The benefits to the community that will result when the shopping center is completed include:
Nearly 200 construction jobs;
1,800-plus retail jobs, from clerks to district managers;
A one-million-gallon water tank, paid for by the developers at a cost of $3 million and dedicated to the County of Maui to serve North Kihei (including the Kihei High School);
The building of the first increment of the long-awaited Kihei/Upcountry Highway, at no cost to the taxpayers;
Additional shopping choices from retail businesses not now on Maui or local businesses wanting a second location, reducing the need to drive to Central Maui, saving time and expensive gasoline;
Increased property tax revenues to fund our vital county services and nonprofit organizations;
Required infrastructure improvements (including additional water system improvements) of over $20 million, guaranteed for completion by a $22 million cash bond posted with Maui County;
State Department of Education fees of $750,000;
State Department of Transportation fees of $1,250,000.
Let's continue the conversation. But, let's do it without creating devils, goblins and ghosts that can only create fear in the dark.