Category Archives: Community Plans

Save Makena! 47-acre Resort Complex Being Proposed!


South Maui needs your help! TOMORROW, January 26th – 9am,  Maui Planning Commission 250 S. High St. (downstairs room)

We apologize for the late notice on this meeting. we have been working hard to gather information so that YOU may make your voices heard, armed with good, factual information.

This project is only part of a larger area with future plans for development. Do YOU like the way Makena looks now? Do you want to continue to have access to the places you enjoy with family and friends?

Should above market-priced homes for part-time residents be built when we need homes for our residents NOW?

PLEASE, share this message with your networks and submit your mana`o (comments) on this project by email TODAY to and/or in person TOMORROW morning at the Planning Department 250 S. High St (downstairs room) at 9am.


Do YOU Favor A Developerʻs Plans Over Community Plans?

January 7, 2016

Maui County Council’s Planning Committee will be meeting Thursday, January 7th, 2016 at 9am in Council Chambers, 8th fl Maui county bldg.

On the agenda is item #PC-11 (Lāna`i Community plans) and proposed changes to it.


(Click on image above to be re-directed to the County website for the full agenda document.)


The Planning Director and Planning Committee Chair Don Couch continue to try to undermine years of hard work by our Community Plan Advisory Committees by making the Zoning trump our Community Plans. Tell Don Couch’s Planning Committee not to let the Planning Director do another end-run around the process by inserting changes that would violate Hawaii State law. These changes were not seen by the Lana`i Community Plan Advisory Committee or the Lana`i Planning Commission. Don Couch doesn’t think that matters, because they are “only advisory.” Tell Don Couch to respect the will of the Community!

Also please contact the other Planning Committee members and let them know you STRONGLY OBJECT to this move that could set a dangerous precedent for the Community Plans throughout the rest of Maui County. What happens to one community-created and driven plan could certainly happen to others. Let them know this is absolutely unacceptable. Our Community Plans reflect a lot of hard work and research “to address the unique characteristics of each Community Plan Area”. It is the vehicle that gives residents the opportunity “to address challenges specific to their regions”.

We understand that this hearing will be just one day after the equally important “Show Me the Water” policy hearing on the 6th, but we urge you to show up to support our Community Plans, submit testimony and share this post with others.

TESTIMONY FOR THE LĀNA`I ISSUE (PC-11) may be emailed to:

Voting Members:
Don Couch, Chair
Robert Carroll, Vice-Chair
Gladys C. Baisa
Elle Cochran
Don S. Guzman
Michael P. Victorino
Mike White

Non-Voting Members:
Stacy Crivello
Riki Hokama

Our Viewpoint on the Ma’alaea Plantation Project

Ma’alaea Developer Should Withdraw the Project and Address the Issues
December 17, 2015
The Maui News

Ma’alaea Community Association (MCA) and the Maui Tomorrow Foundation (MTF) have worked with the developer on the Ma’alaea Plantation project for years. We tried in good faith to come up with conditions to reduce the negative impacts of the project. It was MCA and MTF who first suggested that the developer include affordable housing in a previous version of the project, but we strongly believe that whatever is built in this area should not create more traffic gridlock, lead to massive urbanization, deplete the Waikapu aquifer and destroy scenic views.

It should fit into the community, be of low density and protect open space and ag lands, and actually be an affordable housing project.

Community concerns have always been about protecting open space, view planes and the environment at this critical location. The Maui Island Plan excluded Maalaea from development and designated it a major transit corridor. Maalaea is the only access to West Maui and is already subject to frequent traffic gridlock, accidents and out-of-control wild fires. It is vitally important to all of Maui.

When the developer decided to pursue a fast-track project under Section 201H, he prepared an environmental assessment (EA) that did not include any of the agreements we had reached in our meetings. The final environmental assessment (FEA) glosses over far too many concerns. Nowhere does the FEA address the actual number of homes that could be built on the proposed 58 affordable and 55 market-priced lots. The requested zoning would allow the proposed rural lots to be subdivided, and ohanas could be added for both rural and residential lots. Without specific prohibitions in place, over 500 homes could eventually be built on the 113 lots and remaining ag lands.

To qualify for processing under 201H, 51 percent of a total project needs to be affordable. In this case, 58 out of a total of 113 would equal 51 percent. However, since we are talking homes that could be built, not just lots, 58 affordable homes out of a potential 500 is 12 percent.

Our discussions with the developer centered on protecting and preserving open space through an 80-acre conservation easement and limiting resubdivision of lots. In the FEA, 27 acres counts as one of the 113 lots. If subdivided, it could equal 54 half-acre lots plus ohanas and result in 108 units on that one lot alone. Nothing in the FEA would prevent this; the requested zoning would actually allow it.

The water study in the FEA addresses only the 113 lots. It says there’s plenty of water for them. But will there be enough water for over 500 new homes or for ag uses? Several other major projects approved in the Maui Island Plan intend to use the same aquifer for their water. Will there be enough water for them? The Waikapu aquifer can only go so far to provide water for everyone wanting to claim it.

The FEA says the developer intends to use septic systems for all homes in the project. The septic systems will be built over the same aquifer intended to be the source of drinking water for this and other projects. State law and the state Department of Health require residential projects in excess of 50 homes to have a sewage treatment plant, not rely on septic systems. The developer claims that the 201H process exempts him from minimum requirements of health and safety. We respectfully disagree.

Because of these and other problems, the Maui County Planning Department called for a full environmental impact statement (EIS) to be prepared for this project. Preparation of a thorough EIS is crucial for projects that will have adverse environmental impacts; it serves as a reference for decision makers during all subsequent land use review.

MCA and MTF do not feel that the FEA prepared for this project is adequate or addresses all impacts. So we are left with no choice but to challenge the Department of Housing and Human Concerns’ finding of no significant impact. We still hope that the developer will withdraw the project and address the issues. Our common goal is to come up with a project that the community can truly embrace.

* Pam Daoust is the president of the Ma’alaea Community Association and Albert Perez is the executive director of Maui Tomorrow Foundation.

DOUBLE ALERT!!! “Tech City” AND “Community Plans & Zoning Under Attack”

December 16, 2015
1:30 pmto5:30 pm


Template testimony LU-4

Aloha Maui! We apologize for the VERY late notice but we’re also just getting up to speed on this turn of events.

Your Planning Committee will be holding a Public Meeting TOMORROW, Wednesday December 16 at 9am with a VERY IMPORTANT item on the agenda: Agenda item: PC-11 Lāna’i Community Plan Update (under attack by developers for the same reasons/issues as Maui)
Your Land Use Committee will be holding a Public Meeting TOMORROW, Wednesday December 16 at 1:30 pm in the Council Chambers at 200 High St Wailuku, 8th fl ALSO with a VERY IMPORTANT item on its agenda: Agenda item: LU-4 Amending Community Plan designation and Change in Zoning for MAUI RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY PARK

View the full agenda for the Land Use Commission here:


The Planning Director continues to try to undermine years of hard work by our Community Plan Advisory Committees by making the Zoning trump our Community Plans. Tell Don Couch’s Planning Committee not to let the Planning Director do another end run around the process by inserting changes that would violate Hawaii State law. These were not seen by the Lana`i CPAC or the Lana`i Planning Commission. Tell Don Couch to respect the will of the Community!


-The 400 ac project (Item LU-4) passed out of the Council’s Land Use Committee earlier this year with minimal conditions addressing traffic impacts and NONE addressing drainage impacts.

-The State Board of the High Technology Development Corporation, representing one parcel that is owned by the State of Hawaii, reportedly declined to sign off on the expansion project’s unilateral agreement with the county. This may have been because traffic impacts were not adequately addressed and existing tenants of the Tech park could be affected.

-Pi’ilani Hwy is already affected by heavy traffic without the added burden of additional traffic which would flow in and out of the Tech Park project area. Construction runoff, drainage and other issues plague this project, yet it continues to resurface under various guises through design changes that STILL do not adequately address the concerns of our greater community.

-They are excluding the 5-acre publicly owned parcel where the Maui Research & Technology Center is located, which means there is no need for the State and the High Technology Development Corporation board to sign off on project conditions now. Several other parcels under private ownership are also proposed to be excluded from the rezoning request. One is a retention basin owned by the Piilani Village Homeowners Association.

TO TESTIFY FOR THE TECH PARK ISSUE (LU-4) Use the above template to craft your own testimony and submit in person or email to:

TESTIMONY FOR THE LĀNA`I ISSUE (PC-11) may be emailed to:


County Water Policy Under Attack!

December 2, 2015

County Water Availability Policy Under Attack!!

Wednesday, Dec. 2nd 9:00 am. TESTIFY
Water Resources Committee Meeting

Agenda Item WR-11
8th Fl. County Building

200 S. High St, Wailuku, HI 96793

Maui County’s current law gives priority and incentives to 100% Affordable Housing. Developers would have you believe just the opposite! They are trying to blame Maui’s “Show Me the Water” law for our affordable housing shortage.

The truth is that SEVENTY-FIVE PER CENT of all future housing units will be UNAFFORDABLE to those with Maui salaries. New developments are NOW only required to have 25% of their units sell between $300k and $570 k. The rest, 75%, can be any price.
Real affordable housing projects are exempt from the Water Availability law, and are therefore given priority for the water we do have. Repeal of this law will only benefit developers who want to get subdivision approval and increase the value of their land without having to deliver actual housing. Thousands of affordable units that have already been promised remain unbuilt! If more houses do get built without a reliable source of water, existing water users will have to cut back when the next drought strikes.

Our public trust water resources are at risk if the water department loses this important planning tool.

Wednesday, Dec. 2nd 9:00 am. TESTIFY
Water Resources Committee Meeting
8th Fl. County Building

200 S. High St, Wailuku, HI 96793

Can’t COME?

Testimony may be submitted to referencing agenda item WR-11.

Keep our Water Availability Law Strong!!

• Keeps accountability in our water planning. Bill asks large developments to get real and “prove they have a water source”
• Protects water supply of current residents from being over-promised to new, unaffordable developments.
• Protects our aquifers and streams from over exploitation, as was commonly done before the bill passed.
• Has encouraged water conservation efforts when large commercial water users like hotels want to expand
• Asks County Water Department to comment on all proposed wells, including their impacts on the exercise of traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights and practices.

Background: The water availability policy, codified at Chapter 14.12 of the Maui County Code, was enacted in 2007 with the intent to conserve the county’s water resources. The ordinance requires applicants for development approvals to provide evidence of “a long-term, reliable supply of water.”
The Committee is being asked to approve amendments to REPEAL the current bill.

“The policy is often mentioned in discussions as one of the main reasons why affordable housing has not been built. This review will provide a chance to evaluate what the policy’s true impact has been.”

The current law actually supports affordable housing being built, since it exempts all the following type of developments from proving a water source, giving them priority access to County water supplies where available:

• family subdivisions
• infill projects of 10 lots or less in west or central Maui service areas
• projects with 100% affordable housing in west or central Maui service areas
• public/quasi public housing projects in west or central Maui service areas

If the law is repealed, thousands of new units already approved in Central, South and West Maui will be “entitled” to water meters, whether there
are sufficient water resources available or not.

Mark Hyde: Blanket legislative change to fix zoning mess a remedy worse than the disease

By Mark Hyde

While I agree with Dave DeLeon  that the county has made a mess of planning and zoning, the blanket legislative change proposed by Maui County Council Member Don Couch to address the problem is a remedy worse than the disease.

Furthermore, the megamall case cited by Mr. DeLeon to justify his call to action undercuts his argument; in fact, it makes the opposite case. Of course, developers who want to build megamalls in light industrial designated land/zones chafe under carefully written community plans, but neither Kihei’s community plan nor county zoning played any role in the megamall outcome.

In a nutshell, in 1995, Kaonoulu Ranch petitioned the Hawaii state Land Use Commission (LUC) to change the categorization of 88 acres of its land located in Kihei for development into a 123-lot light industrial park. The LUC approved the change, ordering, per state law, that the land be developed as represented.

The ranch declined to develop the property and instead sold it to Maui Industrial Partners (MIP) in 2005, subject to the LUC order. Once MIP bought the land, it quietly began subdividing the property into a few large parcels for retail development. About five years later, MIP sold the land to a Texas developer who thereafter announced, to the surprise of the South Maui community, that it planned to build the largest shopping center in Maui County on the land – with the support of our mayor and planning director.

People who care about good planning and Kihei’s future, marginalized in Mr. DeLeon’s Viewpoint as “environmentalists” (job killers) and “literalists” (small-minded), brought the matter to the attention of the LUC, and after a four-day trial, with the county supporting the rogue development, the LUC found the owner in violation of its order.

Developing our communities thoughtfully, in accordance with good planning principles and the law, is something Mr. DeLeon and I agree upon. Changing the County Code as proposed by Mr. Couch will not achieve this end, nor will hysteria from the Realtors Association of Maui.

* Mark Hyde is president of South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth.

CANCELLED. Community Plans under attack again!

South Maui Landowners Map 2011
October 9, 2015
9:00 amto10:00 am

Good Job Troops!!!! You beat back the latest attempt to destroy our Community Plans!!!!!

Planning Committee Chair Don Couch has CANCELLED the Planning Committee’s meeting that was scheduled for this Friday, October 9 at 9am.

That meeting agenda contained the item to over-ride specific community plan “land-use designations” with overly-generous zoning definitions that would wipe out much of the effort that went into developing all of Maui’s community plans. “(PC-21)AMENDING COMMUNITY PLAN REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO LAND USE DESIGNATIONS”

This matter is not dead and may rear its ugly head in the near future.


Save Our Community Plans (Again!)

Testify 9 am, Friday, October 9, 2015

Our Community Plans Are Under Attack Once Again. The latest proposed revisions to Maui County Code (PC-21) are a blatant attempt to reinterpret and trump all of our existing community plans at once!

After a strong showing by concerned citizens in June, the first attempt at this “technical amendment” was sent back to the drawing board. The latest version of this bill has different language, but would have the same effect – to gut the Community Plans, by saying that all of our community plan land use designations will be merely “representative”, and therefore would not rule over the zoning.

During years of dedicated work, Citizen Advisory Committees and concerned citizens were clearly and repeatedly told that land use zoning must comply with the Community Plans. This ordinance would turn that on its head, and would violate Hawaii State law.

Please come and testify!

Don Couch’s Planning Committee is scheduled to meet on Friday, October 9th at 9:00 am.


Council Chamber

Kalana o Maui Building, 8th Floor

200 South High Street

Wailuku, Hawaii

If you cannot testify in person, please send comments as soon as possible.

Email comments to:

Planning Committee

Don Couch, Chair 

Robert Carroll, Vice Chair;    

Gladys Baisa

Elle Cochran 

Don Guzman 

Mike Victorino  

Mike White      


Ask the Council Planning Committee to respect the hard work of the Community Plan Citizen Advisory Committees. Ask them to FILE County Communication 15-154 and other related action.

The Community Plans are Your Voice and should have the force of Law.


Maui’s Future Is Being Created Now by Dick Mayer

Maui is at an important crossroad. Major decisions are being made that will affect every resident and shape our beloved island’s communities and environment. These decisions and their timely implementation will allow us to control anticipated events and may prepare us to react effectively to events beyond our control.

Changes and Challenges:

a) Our agricultural future may face the biggest changes. Numerous forces raise a cloud over HC&S’s sugar operations, including increased concern over the health effects of cane smoke; legal challenges to restore water flow to East Maui streams; reduced electricity sales to Maui Electric; and decreased revenues due to low world sugar prices. Economics may be the decider, and that includes A&B’s desire to “bank” its valuable lands and retain water rights.

In addition, the courts will decide whether Monsanto can continue to grow and experiment with GMO crops on Maui due to health concerns that led to an initiative against GMO agricultural practices by Maui County residents.

Concurrently, there is a movement to make Maui agriculturally self-sufficient and organically healthier. Will Maui’s corporate agriculture be replaced by a more diversified, sustainable agriculture?

b) Our Maui County government has operated with a “Strong-Mayor” format for many decades and may be in serious need of a different structure. Most local governments of Maui’s size utilize a “Council + County Manager” structure where a professional County Manager and department heads are selected based on experience and qualifications, rather than on political connections, “name recognition,” or as a reward for loyal followers. In 2016 residents may vote for a Charter change.

c) Due to the uncontrolled growth of luxury homes that drive up home costs and rental fees, local families are becoming frustrated that their children are being forced to leave Maui. Our County government will need to regulate McMansions and provide for additional work-force housing in livable neighborhoods with proper infrastructure.

d) Our hospital’s management will change from public (State control) to a private operation. To balance its budget will Kaiser cut back on services? Dismiss employees? Raise rates?

e) Our Time-Warner cable system, plus much of our internet and telephone service may be taken over by Charter Communications which doesn’t have the highest reputation. Will the Hawaii DCCA actively protect consumers with tough, pro-active negotiation of contracts and subsequent strict enforcement of conditions? How will Maui’s local Akaku station fare?

f) Maui’s electricity future will change if Hawaii’s Public Utility Commission allows Florida-based NextEra to take over the Hawaiian Electric Company monopoly, including its MECO subsidiary. However, Maui County is now investigating alternative energy management opportunities: a Maui-based public utility, or a consumer-owned cooperative like Kauai’s.

g) Electricity production and distribution may adjust to reflect a need to reduce electricity costs, control climate change, and become less dependent on imported fuels. Solar, wind, and geothermal could play a larger role, especially if we decide to be less reliant on a large centralized power plant and more comfortable with distributed production and local battery capability.

h) Will high tourism employment continue if the County persists in allowing hotels to transform into timeshares with a reduced need for hotel and restaurant employees? With many unemployed workers, wages may be reduced for the remaining workers resulting in housing and rental costs becoming even less affordable.

i) Beyond our local control, but nevertheless significant, are several natural environment trends: modified weather patterns that may mean reduced and more variable rainfall, making agriculture less secure; decreased comforting trade winds; and rising sea levels, forcing Maui to restrict public and private shoreline construction.

j) The County administration’s proposal to push for direct international flights from some Asian cities could open Maui to serious pests for which we are unprepared. The administration wants to allow tourists to have passports checked at the departure airport, but is making no provision for needed inspections of potential invasive species, especially from tropical cities.

The many decisions we face mean that Maui’s future will probably be significantly different from today. Our leaders will need to make politically difficult choices that can reduce negative consequences and enhance benefits. Will they (and we) be up to it? The answers will determine Maui’s future.

Retired Professor Dick Mayer taught economics and geography at Maui Community College for 34 years and was Vice-Chair of the Maui General Plan Advisory Committee.

Maui Tomorrow Testimony on Lana’i Community Plan


To: Chair Don Couch and Committee Members, Planning Committee

Maui County Council

From: Albert Perez, Executive Director

Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Inc.

Re: PC-11, Lana`i Community Plan Update June 22, 2015

Maui Tomorrow is opposed to the following proposed new language in the Lana`i Community Plan:

Community plan land use designations are not regulatory unless required by law.”

This new language is proposed to be inserted on Page A-26 of Appendix 9.3. We have also found similar language in the draft of the Moloka`i Community Plan. We are concerned that the proposed language is unnecessary and will create confusion when applied by planners and citizens in evaluating future development proposals, since the community plan land use designations are indeed regulatory, and therefore “required by law”. Hawaii Revised Statutes §46-4, as well as Maui County Code Sections 2.80B and 19.04 all require zoning to conform to the general plan, and therefore, to the community plans.

An incredible amount of time, energy, and thought has been put in on developing the community plans throughout Maui County. Hundreds of ordinary citizens, county staff, Planning Commissioners, and Council members spent years developing these plans – all of which would be rendered meaningless if language such as that proposed were to be adopted. Not only would this run completely counter to good planning practice, and be contrary to state and county law, but it would send a terrible message to the people who participated for many years, pouring their hearts and aspirations into developing the Community Plan, crafting a better future for their community.

The language (in italics above) which is now being proposed was: a) not included in the Planning Director’s initial draft Lana`i Community Plan; b) not reviewed or recommended by the Lana`i Community Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC); and c) not reviewed or recommended by the Lana`i Planning Commission.

When next we need citizen volunteers, who will want to answer the call? This language would run counter to the stated intent of 2.80B, “to increase public and community participation in the planning process.”

Maui Tomorrow respectfully requests that these proposed changes be removed, along with any changes that have similar intent, in the Lana`i Community Plan, and in all other community plans. We also request that work begin in earnest to revise zoning designations and zoning standards to conform with the wishes of the Lana`i community, as expressed in the objectives, policies and land use designations of their versions of the Lana`i Community Plan.

Mahalo nui loa.

Save Our Community Plans


Our Community Plans Are STILL Under Attack. The changes are starting on Lana`i, but may affect us all, if they spread to every community plan.

New language has been inserted in the Lana`i Community Plan that was NEVER discussed in over a year of public deliberations. This language would gut the Community Plan’s land use designations, saying they will not be “regulatory”, and may not have the force of law.  It could set a precedent that would then be included in all our Community Plans.

Most folks would not look for a game-changer in an Appendix, but that’s where this new language was placed.

Don Couch’s Planning Committee is scheduled to meet on Lana`i this Tuesday, June 23rd, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm, to hear public input on the plan.

Please send comments as soon as possible (preferably by June 22nd).

Email comments to:

Address them to:

Planning Committee Chair Don Couch

Re: PC-11, Lana`i Community Plan Update

Ask the Council Planning Committee to pass the Lanai Community Plan Advisory Committee version of the Plan, which clearly and repeatedly states that land use zoning must comply with the Lana`i Community Plan. Ask them to respect the hard work of the Lana`i community. Specifically, ask that the following words in Appendix 9.3 be deleted:

Community plan land use designations are not regulatory unless required by law. Page A-26 Appendix 9.3”

Listen to the People!

Why: Language weakening the power of the Lana`i Community Plan was buried in an Appendix on page A-26 of the proposed revisions by the County Council Planning Committee AFTER the Lana`i community, its citizen’s advisory committee, and its Lana`i Planning Commission approved a draft that did NOT contain this language.

The fact is that state and county law both clearly state that zoning must comply with the community plan. The proposed new language is unnecessary, creates confusion, and is disrespectful of the hard work of the Lana’i Community Plan Advisory Committee and the Lana`i Planning Commission.

The Lana`i plan is the first in a series of community plan updates.  The Moloka`i Community Plan is also under way, and that draft now has similar language. The Council Planning Committee appears to want to get this language embedded in all our community plans, rendering them toothless.

Let the Council Planning Committee know we stand behind the Lana’i Community and all the work they have done, and insist that the offending language be DELETED.

The Community Plans are Your Voice and should have the force of Law.

P. S. Mahalo to all who sent comments on PC- 21 (the amendment to the Maui County Code also weakening our Community Plans) Your voices are being heard.  This unneeded amendment to our County Code has been temporarily deferred. Committee Chair Don Couch says he is willing to look at new language. We will continue to work to leave the County Code as it is. 

More alerts will be sent as we see the new language.  IMUA!