Land Use Commission to review controversial Kihei development project

Land Use Commission to review controversial Kihei development project

KIHEI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Critics of a controversial development proposed in South Maui plan to voice their concerns when the state Land Use Commission meets on Wednesday and Thursday to review the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The Piilani Promenade project would be built on 75 acres mauka of Piilani Highway in Kihei. The proposal includes 58,000 square feet of light industrial space, up to 530,000 square feet of retail and commercial development, and 226 apartment units.

The project's objectives include creating jobs, providing rental housing, and offering new retail options to residents. Opponents, however, aren't convinced that the development is needed.

"This project is proposed for an area that has cultural sites, big drainage problems, it's one of the major flood zones of Kihei, and big traffic problems," said Lucienne de Naie, president of Maui Tomorrow Foundation.

The new developer, Sarofim Realty Advisors, scaled back its predecessor's proposal which critics dubbed a "megamall." The project consultant said the FEIS provides mitigation measures to address community concerns.

"This is within the urban growth boundaries for the county of Maui, it's state land use urban, it's in the community plan, and it's zoned for light industrial development," said Jordan Hart, president of Chris Hart & Partners, Inc.

But the project violates the Kihei-Makena Community Plan, according to opponents.

"What's at issue here is the future of Kihei. Will we be developed the way we want in smart growth technique, focusing growth in the town center or will we have a hole blown in the side of our plan?" said Mark Hyde, president of South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth.

Critics said it's tough to determine the actual impact because the site plan is vague. According to Hart, adjustments may need to be made and design guidelines will be created.

"The character of development is going to be established by those design guidelines which are ultimately going to be approved by the planning department," said Hart. "What they reply to us in the context of our first proposal to them will really dictate how the property is going to be developed."

The developer did not respond to a request for comment.

The Land Use Commission will meet on July 19 and 20 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.

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