Latest Developments Of Wailea 670/ Honua'ula

Latest Developments Of Wailea 670/ Honua'ula

  • Mick St John
  • 05/23/22

Updates on the Honua'ula Development

 

The Honua'ula development, originally known as Wailea 670, has been in the works for more than three decades. This is a mixed-use development in South Maui that will cover 670 acres. This location is culturally and environmentally sensitive, as it is located directly south of Maui Meadows and across the highway from the present Wailea village.

While opponents of the project claim that it will not benefit the neighborhoods, supporters claim that it will provide much-needed affordable housing. After years of tense negotiations, a key agreement has been reached, but additional negotiations are underway.

Previously, the development plans called for around 1,400 single-family and multi-family houses. There were also proposals for commercial spaces and a golf course in the complex. Several significant organizations, including Maui Unite and the Sierra Club, have spoken out about the environmental and cultural consequences of such a massive development in such a vital location. These organizations, the County of Maui and Honua'ula Partners, LLC, have been in talks.

Cultural and Environmental Discoveries

While the first development plans included provisions for culturally and environmentally sensitive regions, Maui Unite and the Sierra Club claimed that these provisions were insufficient to adequately solve the issue. Following the filing of the claim, the developer agreed to conduct more archaeological and environmental investigations in the region.

The findings of this research revealed that this 670-acre parcel of land featured several hundred significant historic features and locations, among other things. Ancient farming terraces, residential quarters, stepping stone routes, and ritual sites were discovered during the excavation. Fortunately, many of the places discovered through the developer's studies are now permanently protected.

Aspects of the claim were also linked to the availability of affordable housing units. The claim stated that the 250 affordable housing units that were originally required did not take environmental issues into account. The Kaonoulu Light Industrial Subdivision in North Kihei was supposed to be the location for these units.

The agreement reached between these two parties is comprehensive. It comprises a 160-acre protected area that was agreed upon. Native animal and plant species, both endangered and unusual, are protected in this area. It also protects historic lands where ancient Hawaiian communities and cultural sites once stood. Some sections of the historic Kanaio-Kalama Road are included in the comprehensive settlement agreement. The original proposal for an eighteen-hole golf course was drastically scaled back.

A conservation easement will also be placed on the protected properties by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. The general public as well as cultural practitioners will have exclusive access to some places. To prevent wildlife from encroachment, a massive deer fence will be built. This is in addition to a tiny public park near Maui Meadows, which is placed near a 116-foot-wide buffer barrier. Structures that will be built near the buffer boundary will henceforth be subject to height limitations.

 Historical Challenges

The development of this land has a long history. The land's zoning was changed in the 1990s to allow the project. The Maui County Council authorized Wailea 670 in 2008, with District Phase I Developmental Approval.

These included both environmentally and culturally sensitive locations that needed to be preserved. A native plant preservation area ranging in size from 18 to 130 acres was one of the particular requirements. The EIS and EA were approved by the Maui Planning Commission in 2012. A claim filed in 2012, however, called into question this original approval.

To learn more about the Honua'ula Project and other developments on Maui, contact us. Our team at Vacation Maui is composed of knowledgeable sales agents, including Kevin Spaise, the author of The Maui Condo Book - a resource used regularly by real estate agents on the island of Maui and beyond!

 

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