Amid a housing crisis, Maui council kills affordable housing project

Residents in the area complained about frequent flooding and traffics jams.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:05 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 9:32 PM HST
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KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui County Council has canceled an affordable housing project in Kihei because critics complained of potential flooding and traffic jams in the area.

“Although I support affordable housing being built for local residents, I oppose this project mainly because this property is located in a FEMA flood zone,” Shekinah Cantere said, at the council meeting on Monday.

Hale Waipuilani offered 28 affordable units for sale at 16 E. Waipuilani Rd. in Kihei.

Council Chair Alice Lee was one of three councilmembers who supported the project.

“It’s unfortunate because as you know, we are experiencing a housing crisis. We need in the neighborhood of about 3,000 to 3,500 homes right now,” Lee said.

So now it is back to the drawing board for Lawrence Carnicelli and the team at Alaula Builders.

They have been building homes on Maui for approximately 30 years.

“I have to focus on what we have coming up next,” said Carnicelli, Alaula Builders vice president of development.

“We have a really exciting project Kuikahi Village which is in Wailuku, 202 units, 100% affordable, solely for Maui local residents.”

The project, just below Wailuku Heights, will go before the Affordable Housing Committee on Sept. 1.

“We need to have more housing if we want to have people, attract people for jobs,” said Lee.

“We’re short 100 police officers, we’re short on teachers, we’re short on medical workers, and a lot has to do with not having enough housing. So here, we’re in this circular problem.”

If all goes well, Carnicelli would like to have people moving in to Kuikahi Village in 2024.

As for Waipuilani, Alaula Builders currently has the ability to build market-rate homes to mainland buyers.

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