The Maui Weekly is to be commended for their continuing coverage of the Pi'ilani Promenade outlet and retail centers planned for South Maui residents and visitors.
Since 2010, the paper has kept the community informed and educated about plans for the shopping centers, and provided an opportunity to expand and clarify information that has been published about the project.
But the article in last week's newspaper, "LUC Hears Evidence in Disputed Land Use Case," unfortunately, did not rise to the award-winning standards associated with the paper. It is an old saying that one should never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel, and this commentary will follow that wise rule, only making one or two points to hopefully add to the constructive civil dialogue we all desire.
Firstly, I would like to point out that the article under-reported and glossed over the public testimony at the state Land Use Committee (LUC) hearing, covering it with only one sentence that stated, "Approximately 20 members of the public gave testimony."
To clarify, 24 people testified about the project. Of those, 14 were in favor of the retail centers and 10 were opposed. Those speaking in support were not only those who were associated with labor or construction, but were also made up of unaffiliated South Maui residents who were speaking their views about why the retail shopping centers make good sense.
In addition, the LUC was presented with a list of 750 residents who had signed cards supporting the plans.
These expressions of support were not gathered online with a "point and click." They were gathered one by one from people who, after studying the project, had decided to put their names down in support, but could not attend the hearing because they were working or looking for work.
Finally, the article failed to fully report on the testimony of the representative from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding the LUC condition that a "frontage road" be constructed as part of the LUC approval granted in 1995.
Since all traffic improvements have to be approved by the DOT, it is important to note the department testified that a frontage road is neither necessary to address future traffic conditions or is even possible due to the requirements for safe roadway design at the intersection of the Pi'ilani and future Upcountry highways.
We continue to believe that in the end, this project will move forward, providing a relaxing open-air location for family and friends to meet and shop, 200-plus construction jobs, 1,800 retail jobs, additional shopping choices from retail businesses not now on Maui or local businesses wanting a second location, and increased property tax revenues to fund our vital county services and nonprofit organizations.