Friday, January 25, 2002

Construction workers held signs yesterday in support of a proposed rezoning of land in South Maui that would allow a timeshare complex and up to 1,100 new residences. More than 350 people attended the Maui Council meeting.

Makena project
stirs water fears

The Maui Council hears mixed
testimony on a rezoning proposal

By Gary T. Kubota

KIHEI, Maui >> The Maui County Council heard mixed testimony from residents last night about a proposal to rezone land in Makena, including sites for a timeshare complex and up to 1,100 new residences.

Critics said the Makena Resort Corp. development would place too much of a burden on the water system and roads.

Some Maui Meadows residents said the condition of the underground water supply serving South Maui is deteriorating because it has reached its pumping limit.

"The water situation is not being taken care of," said Hank Levaur, head of the Maui Meadows neighborhood association.

More than 350 people, including environmentalists and construction workers, attended the meeting at the Kihei Community Center.

Maui County water officials have estimated the development will use an estimated 1.7 million gallons of water a day once fully built.

Officials say while the Iao aquifer is near its pumping limit, there are other sources of water available in North Waihee, East Maui and Kahakuloa.

Under a proposed council ordinance, Makena Resort would be able to develop 100 units upon approval of the zoning and a prescribed number of housing units, as the state makes improvements to major highways connecting South and Central Maui.

The measure also gives the developer the choice of paying $5,000 per unit, instead of waiting for the improvements.

Makena Community Association President Rudy Luuwai said his members supported the rezoning because the developer Makena Resort Corp. has worked with residents to improve the community.

Luuwai said Makena Resort was involved in the joint venture in 1974 that developed a source of water and a transmission line from Wailuku to Makena, enabling the development of Kihei, Wailea and Makena.

Luuwai said the development will not only provide jobs for construction workers, but also additional property taxes.

Makena Resort general manager Roy Figueiroa said the development would be built during a period of 10 to 20 years, and the firm planned to work with the county in developing road improvements and water.

"We understand the county can't guarantee water," Figueiroa said. "This is only the first step so we can get into line and stand along with others to get water."

Makena Resort said it has spent about $6 million to help to develop water in South Maui, and promised to contribute toward a state transportation study to widen Piilani Highway.

During an interview earlier in the day, Wailea Community Association President Frank "Bud" Pikrone said he was worried about the length of time for ambulances to get to the hospital.

Pikrone said it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get to Maui Memorial Medical Center, and more development including construction trucks will add to the traffic problem.

He said before the additional development is authorized, Makena Resort, the county or the state should agree to a study to develop a road to connect with Kula Hospital, where emergency services could be provided and the time on the road would be 10 minutes.

The zoning vote is Feb. 3.

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