HONOKOWAI LAND SWAP PROJECT APPROVED
News, August 23, 2008
By MELISSA TANJI Staff Writer
WAILUKU - The Maui County Council on Friday voted to approve revisions to the West Maui Community Plan and to rezone properties in Honokowai to reconfigure the North Beach Park.
The council vote approving three bills on second and final reading will allow a land exchange between Charles Nunes Jr. and the Maui Beach Resort Ltd. Partnership. Nunes is giving up land zoned for hotel use to allow a consolidation of the site for the North Beach Park. In return, Nunes is getting land designated as part of the park to allow his family to develop a four-story project with B-2 community business zoning.
The reconfiguration plan was questioned when the bills were up for first reading on Aug. 8, with attorney Lance Collins protesting that a West Maui community group has an agreement to limit building heights in the vicinity of the Kaanapali North Beach properties. Collins did not appear Friday.
Also on Friday, council members gave final approval to a council bill that will bar retail businesses from using plastic shopping bags. The ban would go into effect Jan. 11, 2011.
The plastic bag reduction bill will prohibit retailers from using plastic bags at checkout counters and instead encourage paper bags, reuseable cloth bags or other packaging.
During a yearlong discussion of the bill, retailers and food association groups argued that the ban is not necessary and that education programs have curbed the use of plastic bags. Critics also said the ban will increase costs to businesses and that some customers prefer plastic bags.
No one spoke against the bag ban during the public comment period Friday.
All of the bills will go to Mayor Charmaine Tavares for her signature, although potential legal disputes may hamper the Nunes project.
Council Member Jo Anne Johnson, who holds the West Maui residency seat, voted against the bills saying she feared that the Nunes family would be mired in litigation.
She said she was told legal action was likely if the council passed the measures allowing Nunes the B-2 zoning.
Outside the meeting, Johnson said a member of the West Maui Preservation Association told her the group would seek legal action to prevent the development planned by the Nunes family. Johnson said she would have liked the parties to resolve the dispute before the council went forward with its decision.
The West Maui citizens group had agreements with the original developers of the Kaanapali North Beach properties to limit building heights in the project area. The original Nunes property was not involved in those agreements, but in the land exchange the Nunes family is acquiring park land that was part of the agreement.
In other actions at the council meeting Friday:
— Members granted final approval to a two-year conditional permit for Cherie Attix for continued operation of the Hale Hookipa Inn at 32 Pakani Place in Makawao.
Council Member Bill Medeiros said he was voting in favor with reservations. He was concerned that some people were not supportive of the inn and that there are similar problems in Hana. He asked to receive updates about the inn in the future.
Neighboring landowner Pat Borge, who has objected to the vacation rental at previous meetings, said he understood Attix needs to make a living. But he claimed she does not control her guests, who wander through the neighborhood, with one going into a neighbor's garage to pet the homeowner's cat.
Another neighbor said noise from the vacation rental is typical of any residential neighborhood and the inn provides visitors an experience they cannot get at a hotel.
— Members voted on first reading to amend a bond authorization ordinance to allocate $2.5 million for Phase 1 of the South Maui Community Park. The park will include a softball field, two soccer fields and related parking.
— The council referred to the Maui Planning Commission a bill to prohibit traffic from a proposed Maui Lani commercial center from using Kainani Street as an access road. Kainani is a primary access for the Sandhills residential area and homeowners objected to allowing increased traffic on the two-lane roadway and the potential for increased traffic through their neighborhood. Originally developed in the early 1950s, Sandhills has narrow streets without sidewalks.
Melissa Tanji can be reached at email@example.com.
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