Details are still sketchy, but the developers of the proposed Olowalu Town–which will add 1,500 homes and a variety of commercial structures to tiny Olowalu–withdrew their petition with the state Land Use Commission (LUC), according to an Apr. 7, 2016 letter from LUC Executive Officer Daniel Orodenker posted on the LUC website.
“We understand that Olowalu Town LLC and Olowalu Ekolu LLC (collectively “Petitioners”) do not intend to pursue the Petition for District Boundary Amendment (“Petition”) that was filed May 13, 2010, in the subject docket, and that Petitioners request that the Land Use Commission close the docket,” Orodenker wrote to Jennifer A. Lim of the Honolulu law firm Carlsmith Ball, LLP. “With this understanding, the Petition is hearby considered withdrawn.”
Orodenker’s letter references an Apr. 6, 2016 letter from the Olowalu developers to the LUC.
That letter is not currently posted on the LUC’s website. At press time, LUC officials are considering posting that letter as well (I’ll update this story when they either post that letter or explain why they won’t post it).
You can read the Apr. 6 letter from Lim to the LUC here. “This letter is to inform you that Olowalu Town LLC, and Olowalu Ekolu LLC do not intend to pursue the district boundary amendment that was proposed in the 2010 Petition, and that the Commission should close Docket No. A10-786,” Lim wrote in that letter. ”
Officials with Olowalu Town LLC also haven’t yet responded to an emailed request for comment on why they chose to walk away instead of appeal. On the whole, officials with the County of Maui say the developers made the right decision.
“I think this is probably a good decision for the community and the landowner alike,” said Will Spence, the County’s Planning Director. “The project would have provided much-needed housing and we certainly applaud the developer’s innovative planning ideas. The project, however, raised many questions that are specific to the site and those could have taken many years to resolve. Two of Planning’s primary concerns were related to the reef system and traffic impacts from Ma`alaea to Puamana. Perhaps as we start into the West Maui Community Plan, another vision will form for the area.”
In planning for the last decade, the proposed Olowalu Town plan hit a major roadblock in December, when the LUC rejected the developers’ Final Environmental Impact Statement. The LUC’s decision was based on a variety of reasons, including “extensive revisions made to the Traffic Impact Analysis Report (“TIAR”) since the publication of the DEIS that the public did not have an opportunity to review… the absence of archaeological studies, including the inventory survey, a Preliminary Preservation and Mitigation plan, and other studies for the entire Olowalu area as well as the most current preservation and mitigation plans for the makai and mauka areas of the Petition Area in the FEIS… [and] the unsatisfactory response of Petitioners to OP’s [the Office of Planning’s] comments on the DEIS regarding the delineation of the 150-foot shoreline setback line relative to Petitioners’ land use plan.”
Click here for our Dec. 2, 2015 cover story listing 25 reasons why the Olowalu development plan is a bad idea.
Photo: Chris Archer