Maui County Committee Green-Lights West Maui Master-Planned Development

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor Maui County’s General Plan Committee voted 7-1 in favor of including the proposed 600-acre master-planned Olowalu Town project within the island’s urban and rural growth boundaries. Plans for the $466 million development call for 1,500 housing units – half of which would be affordable – a school, a post office, [...]

Maui County’s General Plan Committee voted 7-1 in favor of including the proposed 600-acre master-planned Olowalu Town project within the island’s urban and rural growth boundaries.

Plans for the $466 million development call for 1,500 housing units – half of which would be affordable – a school, a post office, commercial space, a community center, parks, fire and police stations, as well as a small wastewater treatment and solid waste plants.

After the vote, developer Bill Frampton of Wailuku-based Frampton & Ward told The Maui News that he is now one step closer to building the vision of a small town for Maui’s families. “This certainly is a very important step in the process. We’re excited to be able to bring some life back to Olowalu,” he added.

Upon completion, the new West Maui development would have the capacity to accommodate approximately 4,000 residents, while 25 percent of the land would be reserved for agricultural use or open space. During buildout, 150 construction-related jobs would be created annually, the newspaper reported.

Plans for Olowalu Town date back to 2005, but the project received criticism from environmental groups and marine experts, who argued that the development could cause major damage to Olowalu’s reefs, some of which are more than 500 years old. Other opponents expressed concerns that the rural character of the area would be altered and that traffic could become worse along Honoapiilani Highway.

Developer Bill Frampton, on the other hand, stated that the project’s draft environmental impact statement helps address these concerns. According to Will Spence, director of the Department of Planning, the developer’s stormwater runoff capture system goes beyond the current requirements, and some of the proposed traffic mitigations are innovative.

The General Plan Committee also included the Kaanapali 2020 project and the state’s controversial Villages of Leiali’i affordable housing project within the growth boundaries of West Maui.

Overall, the planned housing developments could bring more than 6,500 housing units to the region over the next few decades. The Planning Department estimates that if completed, the projects would generate an oversupply of about 227 percent of demand to the region.

Photo credits: mauifeed.com