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Houses again pitched for Central Maui

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 2:01 a.m. HST, Dec 11, 2013

WAILUKU » Developers are reviving a plan for a Central Maui housing development that would include 450 multifamily units, retail and office space, and a 15-acre park.

The Puunani subdivision would be built west of the Kehalani master-planned community south of Wailuku.

The land has been vacant after years of pineapple and sugar cane cultivation, designated agricultural, the Maui News reported. The project proposes to reclassify about 64 acres of the 208-acre area to urban and 144 acres to rural.

The developers -- Towne Development of Hawaii Inc., Endurance Investors LLC and Association of II Wai Hui LP -- aim to preserve the land's rural feel by dividing the area into half-acre and 1-acre lots, which families may use for small-scale farming, project coordinator Blanca Lafolette said.

Developers are working on a draft environmental impact statement they plan to submit early next year, Lafolette said.

The project was first proposed seven years ago as a rural 550-unit subdivision. Lafolette said the developers reduced the subdivision's density to comply with a new master plan for the area. They also considered input from neighboring community associations.

The developers will seek a district boundary amendment from the state Land Use Commission after they submit the environmental impact statement. They'll ask the Maui County Council for a community plan amendment and change in zoning.

An environmental impact statement preparation notice published Sunday said Maui County will need thousands of new housing units by 2016 to accommodate residents.

"A significant number of Maui households live in overcrowded conditions or are doubled-up with other families," the notice said. "The project will give market participants additional choices in single-family and multifamily living ... and should lead to more affordable housing for Maui's residents."

The subdivision has been designed to "provide a transition from the higher density Kehalani Project District to agricultural lands south of the project area" while still providing much-needed housing to accommodate the island's growing population, the notice said.

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