KIHEI MEGA-MALLS PUT ON HOLD
Looks like South Maui may have to wait a bit longer for those mega-malls that soooo many residents are demanding. Wait, did I say demanding? Yeah, I meant denouncing.
It’s funny: Kihei is nothing but strip malls and condominiums along the coast, and there’s vacant commercial space all over the island, but South Maui residents have really banded together to fight Irvine-based Eclipse Development Group’s Maui Outlets and Pi‘ilani Promenade proposals that would bring many thousands of square feet of commercial development to the dry forest land mauka of Pi‘ilani Highway. And it looks like the state Land Use Commission (LUC)–which typically approves the zoning for all the projects that come before it and, in this case, was asked whether the proposal’s “light industrial” zoning does, in fact, including mega malls–is standing with the project’s opposition by asking for a new hearing on the matter.
“The LUC found by unanimous vote (6-0 with three members absent) that there is reasonable cause to believe that Pi‘ilani Promenade North (the Outlet stores), Pi‘ilani South (the shopping center) and Honua‘ula Partners (Wailea 670’s 250 workforce housing) are not developing the 88 acre Kaonoulu Ranch property in substantial compliance with the 1995 Order issued by the LUC,” reported Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie, who attended an Aug. 24 hearing on the matter. “The Commissioners also noted that the property owners have not filed a timely annual status report with the LUC this calendar year.”
For Bowie, and the projects’ growing opposition, this was welcome news.
“This represents a huge step forward in our case,” she emailed me on Aug. 27. “Next, a status conference will be held in early September to set a date for a contested hearing. At that hearing, the property owners will be ordered to show how their proposed Mega Malls and workforce housing is substantially similar to the 123 lot light industrial park proposed by Kaonoulu Ranch in 1994, and answer for the fact that the development lacks a frontage or connector roads as ordered by the Commission.”
ANOTHER REPUBLICAN JOINS HIRONO’S TEAM
First, it was Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young, who’s been in the U.S. House of Representatives since Richard Nixon was president. He endorsed 2nd District Congress Member Mazie Hirono during the Senate primary race to see which Democrat would face off against Republican Linda Lingle (who, though facing four other challengers, was widely seen to have the race locked up.
Young and Hirono cut a cute television spot together of them sitting side by side like they were friends and it mostly just slashed to pieces fellow Democratic Senate candidate Ed Case’s contention that Hirono was too lefty to be effective in the Senate. Case’s operative Caleb Rowe argued in a recent letter to MauiTime that Young’s endorsement was most likely just for the primary and had nothing to do with the general election, which, while possibly true, did nothing to diminish the power of watching Republican and Democratic members of the House sit together and praise each other.
Anyway, Hirono ended up cleaning Case’s clock and is now squared off against Lingle, who won her party’s nomination with 90 percent of the vote. Usually what happens in matters like these is that the respective parties hold “unity” meals after the results come in, and all the candidates kiss and make up. That apparently didn’t happen in the Hawaii Republican Party, because today, John Carroll, who ran against Lingle for the nomination, endorsed Hirono.
Here’s Carroll–who is extremely conservative, mind you–quoted in a press release from his campaign that was forwarded to me by one of Hirono’s campaign aides:
“I believe that Ms. Lingle is a clear and present danger to the economic and political health of this beloved State of Hawaii. Given her record as Hawaii’s Republican Party Chair from 1999-2002, she only helped to elect one Republican State Senator out of 25 and eight Republican State Representatives out of 51, which is simply abysmal. Her accomplishments and failures as Governor are equally depressing.”
Damn! Of course, Carroll’s endorsement really doesn’t bring much more than novelty, since he only won 2,900 votes in the primary contest (Lingle, by contrast, won over 44,000).
ACTUALLY, IT’S CALLED KAPUKA‘ULUA
We seem to be at the end of an era. But on Tuesday, Aug. 21, the Maui County Council voted 7-0 (Joe Pontanilla and Elle Cochran were absent) to demolish the structure popularly known as the Montana Beach House (the Hawaiian place name is Kapuka‘ulua–“the ‘ulua fishing hole”) in Paia. Moving the solidly-constructed house was apparently prohibitively expensive, so the council says it has to go.
Their reason for ordering the demolition of the house, which has stood vacant for a decade, was simple, according to an Aug. 23 Maui News story: the house should never have been built in the first place, so the only legal recourse was to get rid of it. This is true, but exemplifies the county’s lack of imagination.
Back in 2007, then-former Maui County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons wrote a column for MauiTime asking the county to save the house:
“I spent much of last year as Mayor Alan Arakawa’s Environmental Coordinator, garnering support for the idea of adapting the existing structure as the Maui County Environmental Resource Center,” he wrote in our Nov. 29, 2007 issue. “We developed plans, discussed obstacles and, with volunteers, helped tend the house and yard on several Kokua Clean Up days. More than 30 written testimonies were delivered to the County Council.”
There were hopes that once Arakawa (and Parsons) got back into office, that the county might be able to build exactly that resource center, which would have been the focal point of an impressive beach park. But according to Parsons, who is once again Maui County Environmental Coordinator, that just wasn’t to be.
In the meantime, the nearby rock revetment that once stood in front of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar’s Lime Kiln building remains in place. In his column five years ago, Parsons said that wall was causing serious beach erosion, and apparently nothing has changed since–except that the erosion seems to have gotten worse.