339 acres of Paia cane field land now in hands of mainland businessman

CA businessman purchases big parcel in Paia
Published: Feb. 7, 2017 at 8:04 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2017 at 12:13 AM HST
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PAIA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Alexander & Baldwin has sold a 339-acre parcel in Paia to a California businessman for nearly $10 million.

The sale came as a surprise to some in Maui County officials, who had hoped to look into how to preserve the property as green space.

"The mayor has plans to develop a North Shore Regional Park that would connect Baldwin Park and Lower Paia Park. As part of that plan he had wanted to ask A&B for a greenway across the street from the new park, so that when people drive into Paia Town there would be green on both sides. That greenway would have been located on the parcel that was just sold by A&B," Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said, in a statement.

"By the time we learned about this purchase it was already in escrow. We are still hopeful that we can work with the new owner about obtaining a greenway for the community."

Alexander & Baldwin told Hawaii News Now that it doesn't know what the property will be used for.

"This sale was unique in that we received an unsolicited offer to purchase the property, and we determined that due to its size and location, a sale would not negatively impact our efforts to pursue our diversified agricultural plan," spokesman Darren Pai.

"We were not aware at the time of any specific requests from the Mayor, but we did note that the parcel contained the 'mini Paia Bypass road' and took steps to ensure in the sales contract that the County retained its rights to the bypass road."

The parcel is zoned for agricultural use by the state and county. But locals fear the land could still be developed.

"I don't trust any developer, let alone one from the mainland, and especially one who doesn't understand and live every day on Maui," said. Moonstar Greene.

Greene owns four restaurants on Maui, the Paia Fish Markets in Paia, Lahaina and Kihei as well as Nuka in Haiku. She says she would rather take less customers in all her restaurants than to see Maui more developed.

"I'm somebody who benefits from growth. I'm somebody who makes more money from growth. But that's not necessarily the 'end-all.' I want to see growth but I want to see smart growth. I want to see infrastructure put in place, I want to see schools happen, I wanna see roads happen. I wanna see all these things happen before we just start building houses and making little towns double the size," Greene said.

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