Published in The Maui News, March 8, 2015
By ROBERT CARROLL for The Maui News
The County Council Land Use Committee, which I chair, will consider zoning approvals for three consecutive days in March for the proposed Downtown Kihei project, West Maui hospital and Molokai High School science facility.
Urban planners and South Maui community leaders have long lamented the absence of a true downtown in the growing town of Kihei.
As noted in the Maui County General Plan, a town center can “strengthen civic pride and foster economic vitality.” Downtown Kihei may finally become a reality if the council approves zoning and community plan amendments sought by developer Krausz Cos.
The Land Use Committee plans to meet in the Council Chambers on March 18 at 1:30 p.m. to consider the Downtown Kihei project. The Maui Island Plan describes the project as “a sustainable, mixed-use community that will create a walkable and vibrant downtown district for Kihei.”
The project is 27 acres along both sides of Piikea Avenue, between South Kihei Road and Liloa Street. Krausz Cos. envisions Downtown Kihei to include residential, commercial and civic uses and a “pedestrian-oriented main street.”
A bike route and pedestrian plan are included in the proposal to connect seamlessly with the existing roundabout near Piilani Shopping Center.
A movie theater and a four-story kamaaina-oriented hotel are also among proposed elements. The Maui Planning Commission recommended approval of the project last summer.
The committee will review the proposal in detail at the meeting and consider the project’s impacts to the neighborhood. Email your testimony about Downtown Kihei to firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing LU-3.
The committee plans to spend March 19 in Lahaina to review requested zoning changes for the proposed West Maui hospital, with a morning site inspection and an afternoon decision-making meeting. Agendas, including meeting times and locations, will be posted at mauicounty.us at least six days in advance.
The Maui Island Plan calls on policymakers to “support the immediate development of a critical access hospital in West Maui.” Newport Hospital Corp. intends to build the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center, including multiple operating rooms, a 24-hour emergency room and two-dozen patient beds, on nearly 15 acres mauka of Honoapiilani Highway on Kakaalaneo Road in Kaanapali.
The Maui Planning Commission recommended approval of the project last fall.
Testimony on the proposed West Maui hospital will be accepted at both sites, or can be emailed to the committee, referencing LU-7.
Finally, the Land Use Committee expects to meet at 1:30 p.m. on March 20 in the Council Chambers to review proposed land use entitlements for Molokai High School, designated as LU-5 on the committee’s docket. The approvals would facilitate upgrades to the school’s science facilities.
The state Department of Education seeks to develop a $3.5 million, 4,500-square-foot science building on the campus. The building would include two labs, accommodating up to 32 students at a time, and rooftop solar panels.
* Robert Carroll holds the County Council seat for the East Maui residency area. He is chair of the Land Use Committee. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.