Just a couple months ago, Charlie Jencks harrumphed and bemoaned county regulations impeding his ability to build affordable housing (“My Meeting,” Dec. 29, 2005). Today he wants to build luxury homes in Wailea, but ignore the county regulation requiring one in four of those homes to be affordable. Instead, “Two-Time” Charlie intends to donate to low-income apartment renters. This money will end up right back in the pockets of the rich apartment owners, the same folks who can afford those fancy luxury homes. It’s like a rebate for the rich. Meanwhile, the working class remains apartment renters instead of homeowners.
If we’re going to build affordable homes, the best way to drive down prices is to take away the ability of real estate speculators to drive up costs post-construction. The county should require all residential subdivisions to follow the model that worked so well in Skill Village, Paia; for 10 years, no renters and no resale for profit. This ensures sales only to those folks who truly want a home.
-Nick Rusnak, Paia
The Editor responds: Actually, Jencks isn’t ignoring the county’s affordable housing rules. Out of his proposed 1,400 homes for Wailea 670, he’s said that 350 would be affordable. That’s one out of four. Of course, not all those 350 would actually be in the Wailea 670 area—he’s said about one-third would be elsewhere—but to be fair most developers do everything they can to make sure the affordable homes they have to build are far from the luxurious homes they desperately want to build. The real problem with Wailea 670—or “Honua’ula,” as Jencks prefers to call it—is that the county as a whole can’t afford it. It’s a massive development coming at a time when other massive developments are popping up all over the island. Where’s the water coming from? Where are the corresponding expansions in roads and infrastructure? Jencks has the affordable housing angle fixed—he talks about it constantly—but it’s the rest of the package that bothers me.
Thanks to Maui Time Weekly for handling a story that was evidently too hot for others (“Infestation!” Jan. 5, 2006). Anthony Pignataro’s report on the coqui problem at Castleton’s nursery in Kihei was a great piece. It’s heartening to know that our mayor is doing what he can to solve this. Thanks for keeping us informed.
-Warren Woodward, Kihei