Friday, June 15, 2001

Some Lahaina residents are against the proposed Harbor
Village shopping center, to be located across the street from
the playground at King Kamehameha III School. The
two-story center would be built on a portion of a site
now occupied by the house in the background.

Maui residents wary
of shopping center

Some fear the effects of greater
traffic from Harbor Village
center near school grounds

By Gary T. Kubota
Maui correspondent

LAHAINA >> Lahaina resident Toni Tuipelehake watched a group of children playing at King Kamehameha III School, then looked across the street at the site of a proposed two-story shopping center.

"I really don't think we need any more shopping centers," said Tuipelehake, a county Summer Pals employee. "It's not cool that it's this close to the school."

As the developer plans to break ground for the Harbor Village shopping center by the end of this year, a number of residents want the county to take another look at the project.

Maui Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson of Lahaina plans to introduce a resolution calling for the Maui Planning Commission to reconsider its issuance of a shoreline permit to Harbor Village.

The Council was scheduled to decide today whether its Land Use Committee should review Johnson's request.

Johnson, who became a Council member this year, contends the permit was granted without accurate information conveyed from a county agency about the number of parking stalls to be constructed at the shopping center.

"It's really upsetting," Johnson said. "I'm blown away that it's made it this far."

Under the plan by developer JDI Limited Partners, the $6.5 million shopping center would include 12 to 15 retail shops, a restaurant and more than 130 parking stalls.

At issue is the way some residents envision Lahaina town. The south side of Front Street near the school has remained more residential, with a medical clinic, adult day-care center, two county parks, the school and scattered residences.

Some residents, including police officers, have expressed fear about increasing traffic near school grounds.

"Our main concern is safety," said police officer Timothy Hodgens. "I think it's too close to the school."

Native Hawaiians worry the development of a parking lot mauka of the shopping center could affect future plans for restoring Mokuula Island and Mokuhinia Pond, once the residence of King Kamehameha I.

Keoki Freeland, executive director of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, said a map dating back to the 1800s shows a substantial part of the proposed parking lot extends over the pond.

"It's a nice project in the wrong location," Freeland said.

Erik Fredericksen, who conducted an archaeological study for the developer, said a more extensive survey is needed to determine if there are any significant historical sites.

Harbor Village officials said the project has been supported by a number of people and already received several approvals by the county, including a community plan amendment passed by the Maui County Council in 1998.

"We were crystal clear about our intentions," said Terry Lee, the developer. Lee said an expert has determined that the land under the parking lot is not wetlands, although the project still is waiting for a final determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Kamehameha III School Principal Richard Paul said he supports the project and does not feel the traffic generated by the shopping center will have an adverse impact on the school.

Paul said most of the school traffic occurs in the morning and early afternoon, and the traffic at the shopping center will be heaviest in the evening.

Paul said that in the past the school has had to contend with drug use at a nearby county park, where schoolchildren have activities.

And he said he would rather see a shopping center with security guards than other businesses that might be "detrimental."

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin