For immediate release: June 28, 2022
Press release by:
Councilmember Michael J. Molina
Chair, Government, Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee
Committee recommends county pursue acquisition of controversial 8-bedroom Napili house
WAILUKU, Hawai‘i—The Maui County Council’s GREAT Committee recommended passage of a resolution authorizing the county’s acquisition by eminent domain of Greg Brown’s controversial eight-bedroom, 45-foot-tall house that residents have said received erroneous development approvals and doesn’t fit Napili’s neighborhood character, Councilmember Michael J. Molina said.
The Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee, which Molina chairs, has met eight times over the last year to hear from members of the public and county officials on concerns over compliance with Special Management Area rules—which is under the Maui Planning Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction—and the administration’s rescission of stop-work orders that temporarily halted construction. The committee today recommended passage of Resolution 22-158, introduced this month by Councilmember Tamara Paltin, which says the half-acre property at 5385 Lower Honoapiilani Hwy. “should be used as a public building for Hawaiian cultural education or other public purposes.”
“Acquiring the property and converting it to public use could be one path for the county to resolve the neighbors’ concerns,” said Molina, who holds the council seat for the Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia residency area. “While the council doesn’t have authority over SMA permits, stop-work orders or other issues that have been raised, we do have the ability to authorize the administration to go to Second Circuit Court and acquire the property by eminent domain.”
Testifiers have described the house as unattractive and likely intended for transient vacation rental use, Molina said. He further noted that, in response to residents’ concerns, the council last year enacted Ordinance 5233 to limit building height to 35 feet and ban new TVRs in the Napili Bay Civic Improvement District.
“Today’s committee action was about turning lemons into lemonade,” Molina stated. “I thank the residents across the county who testified today in support of taking action to acquire the property for the benefit the County of Maui.”
The property’s fair-market value hasn’t been determined, and a budget amendment by the council may be required. Acquisition of the property by negotiation conducted by the mayor, rather than by eminent domain, is also possible, he said.
For more information, please contact committee staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 270-7838.