The much-discussed 600-unit housing project proposed by Alexander & Baldwin in North Kihei was approved by a unanimous vote of the Maui County Council on Friday, Aug. 1. The action includes zoning changes and changes to the Kihei-Makena Community Plan. The new residential development with an estimated value of $200 million will contain single-family homes, multifamily flats and townhouses. It occupies a 94.3-acre site above the Pi'ilani Highway between Kaiwahine Street and Mokulele Highway.
When completed, the project is also expected to include included a seven-acre park and recreation center as well as 1.4-acre neighborhood commercial center featuring small stores serving area residents.
The County Council's action provides for a community plan amendment from agriculture to multifamily, single-family and commercial designations and a zoning change from agriculture to apartment, residential and community business districts.
Shown here is an aerial photo of the site of the 600-unit housing project proposed by Alexander & Baldwin in North Kīhei.
Image: Munekiyo & Hiraga
In earlier meetings, traffic in and out of the project was a matter of major concern and discussion by the council's Land Use Committee. As initially proposed, Kaiwahine Street was the only in-and-out point for the entire complex, but testimony by administration officials, including representatives of the Maui Fire Department and Department of Public Works, assured council members that at least one other emergency exit route would be required as the project works its way through the ongoing approval process.
In all, 16 conditions were attached to the approval action. These dealt with a variety of issues, including traffic and a stipulation that the development must begin within a 10-year time frame.
According to Carla Nakata, a legislative attorney for the Office of Council Services, the vote by the council to pass the bills on second and final reading was 9-0. She said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa signed the bills on the same day, when they became Ordinances 4145 and 4146. Both were effective Aug. 1.
"We are very pleased to have received zoning and community plan designations for this project which will allow us to provide for the housing needs of our local families," said Grant Chun, vice president of Maui - A&B Properties Inc. "Our next steps are to advance engineering and design work for the project and to pursue subdivision approval. With the timely completion of this work, the first home delivery is estimated in 2018, with the affordable units among the first to be constructed. Preliminary pricing for homes within the project in today's market and dollars would be from the $300,000s to the $600,000s," Chun wrote.
Council Land Use Committee Chair Robert Carroll, whose members heard details of the project in earlier meetings, wrote, "The Land Use Committee worked diligently to consider measures to lessen traffic impacts as a result of the project. We want to ensure the public's welfare and convenience is addressed by the developer. I want to thank the council for supporting the community plan and zoning amendments to facilitate the Kihei residential project by A&B. I hope the project would provide for more housing opportunities for residents--especially our working families."
South Maui Councilmember Don Couch was also pleased with the outcome, but had some reservations: "I am happy the project may provide residents more future housing options and job opportunities." But, he said, "I am more concerned with its unintended traffic impacts. I am working with the developer to come up with alternative solutions to address potential traffic hazards brought by the project. We want to make sure safety is top priority."
Mike Moran, president of the Kihei Community Association (KCA), said his group had been active in reviewing the proposed housing. Though he had no comment on the recent council green light, he provided a link to the KCA Website dealing with the project and earlier committee meetings: gokihei.org/development-project-review/luc-committee-makes-no-decision-on-a-b-600-in-no-kihei.
The Aug. 1 action by the council did not address mitigating dust, pesticide drift and ash resulting from nearby agricultural operations of Monsanto and HC&S (a subsidiary of A&B), which are located near the boundaries of the proposed new development. It also did not speak to sidewalks, bike paths and pedestrian safety--a related topic that was the subject of earlier concerns.
A conceptual presentation on the project was prepared by the consulting firm of Munekiyo and Hiraga and shown to the County Council on Dec. 18, 2013. It included a number of preliminary renderings by the developer of the different types of proposed residential and auxiliary uses. Because of subsequent actions, it may be somewhat out of date. Readers can find the presentation as a PDF in the online version of this story.
Other specific details of this project--including conceptual traffic flow, conditions imposed by the council and earlier discussions--can be found at the Land Use Committee's archive at www.mauicounty.gov/Archive/ViewFile/Item/19255.