WAILUKU » A proposal to build 1,500 homes in the Maui community of Olowalu has come to a halt after state officials rejected the developer’s environmental assessment.
The Land Use Commission voted Monday to turn down the draft final environmental impact statement, The Maui News reported. Commissioners cited shortfalls with information regarding potential impacts on traffic, cultural resources and archaeological sites.
Commissioner Aaron Mahi said that he felt “pretty uneasy because of the tentativeness of figures and facts” included in the statement.
“I really feel there needs to be more attention given to more specifics … not only the intention but more importantly what’s actually going to happen here, and that’s what I’m really concerned about,” Mahi said.
The state Office of Planning recommended that the environmental assessment be denied because the preliminary traffic impact analysis report did not include peak hour traffic totals. Officials also said developers had not interviewed cultural practitioners to examine possible impacts on cultural resources. They also recommended that an archaeological inventory survey be completed under new rules adopted by the state Historic Preservation Division.
Project developer Bill Frampton said he thought the environmental assessment was done in “good faith and spirit.” He did not mention whether his team would appeal the decision.
The proposal calls for the development of 1,500 homes as well as stores, schools and parks. It also includes a mauka realignment of Honoapiilani Highway that would be built on about 636 acres of agricultural land near Lahaina.
Frampton described the development as a community-based initiative to stop the sprawl of estates in Olowalu.
“One of the greatest mistakes would be for the land in Olowalu to be developed as it is currently approved for today, which is developed for a very few number of very wealthy individuals to build high-end/gated luxurious-style mansions on large plots of land,” Frampton said in an email.
Half the homes in the proposal would be affordable, Frampton said.