The Maui News - Maui County Council members heard testimony opposing the Maui Island Plan on Tuesday, Nov. 14, a prelude of battles to be fought later. The special meeting was a procedural step for the full council to accept the General Plan Committee's report on the plan, to approve scheduling a public hearing and to schedule the measure for first reading before the full council.
First reading is set for Friday, Dec. 7, and second reading on Friday, Dec. 21. The council has a Monday, Dec. 31 deadline for taking action. A public hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie was among several testifiers to ask council members to schedule the upcoming public hearing in the evening to allow people who work during the day to attend, saying, "Our community deserves a chance to have their voices heard and also learn firsthand what is in this last version of the plan."
Bowie noted that protection areas are not receiving enough protection in the plan as recommended by the council committee.
Council members listened to a number of testifiers who oppose inclusion of the master-planned Olowalu Town project in the plan's urban and rural growth boundaries.
Sarah McLane, executive director of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, said no urban development should be allowed at Olowalu because the area has one of the island's few healthy reefs.
Olowalu Town LLC Project Developer Bill Frampton said council members have heard a lot of "incorrect and false" information about the project.
Project developers learned about the reef from longtime Olowalu families and hired consultant Brown and Caldwell as natural resource engineers to design an integrated resource management plan, he said.
"We know the reef is special," Frampton said. "It demands special attention. We believe, in the end, we can coexist with nature We're talking about a new way to build and grow on Maui."