Land Deal Rejected on Maui

Dec 14, 2015

Credit Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr

A proposal for a 15-hundred home development on Maui has come to a screeching halt—at least for now.  The plan was for Olowalu town---and it faced opposition from many environmentalists on the island. Eileen Chao has more from the Maui News.

The intentions might have been good, but the plan is incomplete. That's what the state Land Use Commission told Maui developers Bill Frampton and David Ward last week.

After a grueling 11-hour hearing, commissioners rejected a draft environmental impact statement for the project. They said the 4-thousand page report did not adequately address potential impacts from the development. Commissioners and residents who testified said they were worried about the effects on traffic, protected cultural sites and the reef.

Developers said the housing project would stop urban sprawl and instead build a community with stores, schools, parks and a small boutique inn. They said half of the fifteen hundred units would be affordable housing.  But environmentalists on Maui have opposed the buildout of Olowalu for the last decade. They say adding such a large project to the rural area would have significant impacts to Olowalu reef, one of the largest and healthiest reefs around Maui.

Last month, more than 60 people testified before the land use commission against the project. Public testimony for that meeting spanned 10 hours.  It may not be the last we hear of the project. The developers have 60 days to appeal the decision. Or, they may amend their environmental impact statement and submit it again.