Groups unveil plans for Honolua
LAHAINA – Key negotiators from Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc.’s Honolua Advisory Council and the Save Honolua Coalition spoke at Lahaina Civic Center last week Wednesday to update the community on proposed plans for 3,467 acres from Lipoa Point to Nakalele Point, owned by Maui Land & Pine (MLP).
The social hall became quiet as Kahu David Kapaku led over 100 people in prayer for the 274 MLP workers who lost their jobs. After the prayer, Kapaku, the president of the Save Honolua Coalition (SHC), shared the group’s vision for Honolua.
“It is more than a place to surf, swim and snorkel. It is an ahupua’a, a continuum from the mountain to the sea. We need to reconstruct our thinking on how to keep this place intact,” he said.
Three questions were posed: Why are we here, who will save Honolua, and how will Honolua be saved?
Members of the Honolua Advisory Council (HAC) and SHC agreed that they had come together to fulfill the goal to “maintain open space, public access, and revitalize the ecosystem of Honolua Ahupua’a through community-based management utilizing Hawaiian practices and values.”
There were differences of opinion on who would save Honolua and how it would be saved.
HAC member Dickie Moon stated that the landowner and the government would make the final decision.
SHC added that God, “Ke Akua,” is an important component, because spirituality permeates all parts of Hawaiian culture and must be part of the equation. Both groups agreed that the community would have a say in the outcome.
Mahina Martin, county public information officer, read a letter from Mayor Charmaine Tavares. In part, the letter encouraged input from the community as a “critical component” to ensure that the “final outcome will be a win-win-win situation for the community, the county and the landowner.”
Kalani Schmidt, MLP’s land and property manager, explained that in exchange for preserving Honolua, MLP is requesting zoning enhancements for Kapalua Mauka. (The HAC plan can be reviewed at www.malamahonolua.com.)
Requested zoning would include a 60-room boutique hotel similar to the Hotel Hana Maui, and transient vacation rental use for 630 units. MLP is also requesting park credits from the County of Maui to reduce cost of future developments.
Questions about the impact of Kapalua Mauka dominated the question and answer segment of the meeting.
After the meeting, Teri Freitas Gorman, MLP’s vice president of corporate communications, said, “There are no plans for time shares in the 630 units or the boutique hotel. The Kapalua model will be used, where individual owners can rent out their units for income or live there full time.”
If the zoning and park credits are approved, the benefits to the community would include the transfer of 255 acres at Lipoa Point into a land trust, preserved into perpetuity.
According to a HAC handout, an additional 3,000 acres will be placed into a “separate conservation easement, including an additional five miles of shoreline North of Punalau (Windmills) and ML&P lands in Honolua and Honokohau valleys. This land will be added to the Pu’u Kukui Watershed management program, expanding MLP’s private preserve from 8,300 to 11,300 acres.”
HAC would like a definitive agreement by all key parties by December 2008 and all final agreements in place before the end of 2009.
MLP wants agreement first with the community. Then the united group would go to the County Council and mayor with the plan.
Moon stated that HAC will have meetings in Kihei, Central Maui and Upcountry, so all of Maui understands the MLP proposal.
County Planning Director Jeff Hunt would like to see more meetings conducted in such an organized and productive fashion.
He stated, “This meeting was a good start in trying to find common ground, because it focused on solutions.”
County Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson was applauded for her role in earmarking $1 million for the acquisition of Lipoa Point at Honolua in the fiscal year 2008 and 2009 county budgets from the Open Space Fund.
Liz Foote of the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) and Project S.E.A.-Link was pleased with the meeting.
She summed up the meeting by saying, “It has been apparent for quite some time that the community really cares about the future of Honolua, and it was certainly evident at this well-attended meeting. Please e-mail your questions, comments and feedback to HonoluaOhana@gmail.com.”
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