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Thursday, April 15, 2004



Maui panel approves
rezoning for resort

But the committee imposes conditions
on the planned expansion


WAILUKU >> A County Council committee approved a proposed 603-acre rezoning request by Makena Resort Corp. last night to build more vacation housing in South Maui after six weeks of debate.

But the Council's Planning and Land Use Committee imposed 41 conditions on the projected 1,189-unit development, including a requirement that the resort provide 60 additional public beach parking stalls and one unit of affordable housing for every four resort units.

The committee's 7-2 vote seemed to indicate enough support for the resort's rezoning proposal when it goes before the nine-member Council, probably sometime in June.

Makena Resort, a subsidiary of Seibu Hawaii, owns about 1,800 acres in Makena, including the Maui Prince Hotel and two golf courses. It currently provides more than 60 public-parking beach stalls on the north and south side of Maluaka Beach makai of its hotel.

Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson, who voted against the development, said she did not have enough information about the proposed projects to make a decision.

Johnson also criticized continuing to allow resort developers to provide affordable housing outside the project in other communities, such as Kihei.

She said this kind of vote for more development would eventually hurt Maui.

"I think we're rearranging chairs on the Titanic," she said.

Councilwoman Charmaine Tavares, who voted in favor of the rezoning, said the public should keep in mind that the proposal will result in less density than in the resort's previous zoning.

Tavares said that by approving the zoning, the Council was able to impose conditions that would benefit the public.

"I may not like this development, but I'm a realist," Tavares said.

Makena Resort Vice President Roy Figueiroa said he has to review the conditions before commenting on the committee's decision. "We hope we can move forward," he said.

Figueiroa said he anticipates there will be more public hearings about the proposed expansion because each project in the zoned area would require a special management area permit from the Maui Planning Commission. He said the resort planned to seek a permit from the commission for an 89-unit time-share development.

Figueiroa said if affordable housing were required to be built at the resort, his firm would have difficulty figuring how to build the homes, especially with the high cost of taxes and maintenance.

A major worry among some people was the lack of domestic underground water in Central Maui, where the amount of water is close to its limit at Iao wells. Figueiroa has noted that Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is negotiating to obtain up to 25 million gallons of stream water from C. Brewer & Co.



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