Back in March, the Maui Planning Commission voted 5-3 to accept the Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact for ATC Makena Holding’s proposed 47-acre Makena Resort project (on the site of the old Makena Golf and Beach Club) that seeks to put in a 158-unit gated luxury community on the mauka side of Makena-Keoneʻoʻio Road above Makena Landing. Believing that the project–from developer Discovery Land Company–will actually produce considerable impacts, a coalition of organizations filed suit in Maui’s Environmental Court yesterday to get the Planning Commission’s vote invalidated.
The three organizations–Hoʻoponopono O Makena, Maui Tomorrow Foundation and Sierra Club Maui Group–allege that “the FEA failed to consider significant impacts that the new luxury development would have on public views, beach access, historical sites, and Mākena groundwater resources,” according to a May 3 Sierra Club Hawaii news release.
“I believe that the project will have significant adverse impacts on the historic, cultural, and environmental resources of the Makena area, and on our ability to continue our traditional and customary practices at Makena,” said Ashford De Lima, a member of a fifth-generation Makena family and President of Hoʻoponopono O Makena, in the May 3 news release. “Members of Hoʻoponopono O Makena continue our cultural practices in and around lands proposed for the Project, yet the Applicant’s Cultural Impact Assessment Report stated that its research ‘yielded no information about cultural resources or practices being conducted in recent times on the project area.’”
Maui Tomorrow Foundation Executive Director Albert Perez said the Maui Planning Commission should have asked the developer to do a more stringent Environmental Impact Statement than a simpler Environmental Assessment.
“Plaintiffs in this lawsuit have raised concerns about significant environmental impacts with this developer for years,” said Perez in the news release. “Unfortunately, our concerns have not been adequately addressed. The entire Maui community reveres Makena’s beautiful beaches and precious natural resources, and the developer needs to acknowledge that the construction of an elite private enclave in this area will have significant environmental impacts, including the reduction of access to popular public beaches, loss of protected scenic views, and impairment of the Makena environment. The Maui Planning Commission knows that a Finding of No Significant Impact is only appropriate if there are no significant impacts; the Commission should have required that a full Environmental Impact Statement be prepared.”
Attorney Lance Collins is representing the coalition that filed the suit. Click here to read the lawsuit.
Photo courtesy Maui Tomorrow Foundation