This week, the state Land Use Commission (LUC) will discuss the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the proposed Olowalu Town, which has been in development for the last decade by Bill Frampton and Dave Ward.
The project’s 2012 Draft EIS says Olowalu Town will include “approximately 1,500 residential dwelling units” at build-out. “The Master Plan will be a small-scale and mixed-use community designed to be pedestrian-friendly which will allow residents to live within walking distance of stores, schools, parks, employment opportunities, community centers, beaches, and social and civic resources, ultimately reducing reliance on automobiles,” states the DEIS. “The Master Plan is guided by values and principles of sustainability by balancing the needs of Maui’ s growing population; yet maintaining and respecting our cultural, historical and natural resources.”
This weekend, the LUC posted 90 pages of public testimony on the Olowalu Town proposal. Most are just reprints of an opposition petition, but there are also a number of individual letters from residents who find fault with the project. Here are a few samples:
- “We frequently see Nene’s in our yard or in the grassy areas on Luawai Street. We’re thrilled to see them thriving here. Development will put them at risk. I’m in full support of affordable housing and the work it brings to the island, but there are many places to build without damaging a reef system and the endangered Nene.” (Michelle Steigmeyer, Olowalu)
- “As a 32 year resident my primary objection is due to devastating impact on the reef and already totally impossible traffic. Saturday Nov. 14, 4 PM LOW tourist season, no accidents, it took one hour to get from Ma‘alaea to Lahaina. Maui has only one port which is operating at 100% capacity. There are NO options for a second port. While I am not always opposed to development, this one is WAY inappropriate.” (Buck Joiner, Kihei)
- “Olowalu is well documented to be the last well developed coral reef on the island. There are 700+ year old coral colonies that seed adjacent reefs. Coral experts worldwide have told us that this development will exacerbate the affects [sic] global climate change and ocean acidification are already causing. We cannot afford further damage to Olowalu reef. This is also a VERY popular tourist destination, and it will be ruined for that purpose if this development goes through.” (Pamela Polland, Kula)
- “The majority of the homes will not be affordable to the average local families here on Maui, and by their own admission, those numbers will not be available for some time. The proposed Olowalu development will potentially become a ghost town of vacation rentals like Launiupoko and Wailea.” (Rosina Potter, Haiku)
The state LUC hearing will take place at 9:30am on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Haynes meeting room. Click here for the meeting agenda.