WAILUKU – A year after its approval, the controversial Honua’ula housing and golf course development in South Maui is moving slowly with a required environmental impact statement and the hiring of several consultants and consulting firms.
The project came before the County Council’s Planning Committee Monday as it reviewed a mandatory annual compliance report by Honua’ula’s developers.
Honua’ula, designated Kihei-Wailea Project District 9 (Wailea 670) in the community plan, proposes 1,400 housing units, half of which will be priced as affordable under federal guidelines. Plans include the construction of a private golf course, water wells and a wastewater treatment plant.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in five years if permits are approved and if Honua’ula prevails in legal challenges to its plans.
Planning Committee members agreed with panel Chairman Sol Kaho’ohalahala’s recommendation to defer Honua’ula’s report on Monday. County planner Ann Cua said Honua’ula’s compliance report, initially submitted to the County Council on March 27, was accurate and complied with report requirements.
When it approved the Honua’ula project district last year, the County Council added 30 conditions. Those include expanding Piilani Highway to four lanes to Wailea Ike Drive, spending $24 million on public park assessments and creating a cultural resources preservation plan. The project is planned on 670 acres and has been estimated to cost as much as $800 million, including $300 million in infrastructure projects.
Charlie Jencks, the representative of Honua’ula Partners, gave committee members a PowerPoint presentation, outlining the conditions while reporting the developer’s compliance or intent to comply with each of them.
Jencks said the developer has hired several consultants and consulting firms to provide extensive analyses covering a variety of topics from water quality to studies on native flora and fauna.
Lucienne de Naie, representing the Sierra Club of Maui, expressed concern that a required cultural preservation area for native plants and creatures might only include 22 acres. A condition for the development required a preserve of at least 18 acres for the preserve and a maximum of 130 acres.
Jencks said his environmental consultants are working on their final report to the developers, and a decision on the scope of the preserve area has not yet been determined.
He said he’s hoping a draft environmental impact statement will be completed in July. The work on the draft document could help to decide the appropriate acreage for the preserve.
Jencks assured council members that governmental agencies such as the State Historic Preservation Division, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are being consulted for input on the preserve makeup.