Kahoma Village site should be a park
I am writing again, as I am passionate about stopping the Kahoma Village development and making it a park. I was asked recently if I worked with "social media;" I do not, which makes me very grateful to the Lahaina News for publishing my letters. I am considered uneducated by the world's standards and am not an "expert." I, however, have learned a few things over the last couple years and would like to share with you what I have found.
1) Developers like to have an "I was born and raised in Hawaii" representative. It makes people feel better that a "local" is part of the development. Has anyone considered that the worst dictators today are "born and raised" in their countries?
2) Developers like to compare Maui to Oahu for how things should get done. Oahu today is not like it was 60 years ago, and we are on our way to following in their footsteps. Do you want Maui to become like Oahu?
3) "Affordable housing" is not so affordable. A developer can get affordable housing status if a certain percentage of the project meets the HUD guidelines of affordable housing. Only a limited amount of homes have to start in the lower range, and $685,000 is considered affordable housing under HUD guidelines. Some of the homes in Kahoma Village are priced between $800,000 and $900,000. Are these the prices you were thinking when you heard that Lahaina is getting much-needed "affordable housing?"
4) When you hear that the County Council has approved a project with "conditions and/or resolutions," it makes you think they have done their due diligence. Are you aware that in some instances, "conditions and resolutions" are a vehicle for the council to disregard laws, statutes and ordinances?
5) The traffic analysis of developments does not realistically consider the substandard roadways of the existing older neighborhoods. They show the wonderful plan with the new streets and sidewalks within the project area but ignore the condition of the surrounding areas. They suggest that with higher traffic, it will encourage people to walk more. Do they consider the dangerous situations that it poses for pedestrians walking on narrow streets that have no sidewalks?
6) Developers must go through a lot of regulations regarding flora and fauna, geological issues, historical and cultural findings and the like. I noticed that they often hire non-native experts that view the projects through "Western Eyes." An example is what an expert might report as weeds is used by a Hawaiian cultural practitioner for medicinal or sustainable resources. The expert may witness an owl and its habitat but not realize that it is an aumakua for some Hawaiians. The agriculture implications are huge from Western practices to Hawaiian practices. We choose to live in Hawaii and like the bumper sticker "Practice Aloha." Shouldn't we also want to preserve and protect aloha and that which we love?
The Kahoma Village site is zoned for a park. We have a tight community on the West Side. We will lose our sense of community if we lose our gathering places.
Please help to stop this development of Kahoma Village. Help protect and preserve this land, and it will bless our community, honor those who came before us and leave a legacy for future generations. I am very excited to see how you will respond to Practice, Protect and Preserve Aloha.
There is an event coming up on May 31 at 10 a.m. to help save this land for a park. Keep your calendar open and read the Lahaina News for details. Listen to the song by Matthew West called "Do Something." It goes: "God, why don't you do something? He said 'I did, I created you.' It's time for us to do something!"
MICHELE LINCOLN, Lahaina
Harbor should have been built at Kahoma Village site
What is it about the land that the proposed Kahoma Village is to be built on that causes such loud screeching in the letters section of the Lahaina News? Back when it was a field with some nice shade trees, the homeless would move in when the grass got high enough to hide their shelters. All was good until someone complained. The grass was cut back, and so were the homeless.
This was the status quo until someone decided to start a cooking fire that turned into a conflagration, which took two days to finally extinguish. Bu-bye homeless and, sadly, bu-bye trees.
Next was a proposal to dredge out the site and create a much-needed West Maui harbor for almost 200 boats with commercial and residential buildings. It would have required rerouting Front Street around the perimeter of the harbor. That brought out howls of protest, including the guy who claimed it would take ten minutes to drive around it. His mode of transportation must have been one of those scooters you see navigating through the rows of slot machines in Vegas.
Now we have a proposal to build "affordable" housing on the site. "Affordable" is, apparently, in the eye of the beholder. The neighbors are "outraged" and ready to fight the development. They claim traffic will become worse, signal lights will be installed, streets will be widened, there are no sidewalks, low water pressure, overloaded sewage systems, etc. The developer's representative pooh-poohs all of their contentions and claims Oahu is much worse.
To paraphrase a Rolling Stones song, you don't always want what you get. They should have gone for the harbor where, other than the ten-minute drive around it, the worse thing that might happen would be slapping halyards against masts when the wind was up.
MIKE SOWERS, Lahaina
Commission should check developer's record
I have been reading the various letters to the editor about the fast-tracked Kahoma Village project in Lahaina. The letters are well-written and speak volumes about why this development is absolutely wrong for Front Street.
However, there is another point that should be highlighted, which has been swept under the Stanford Carr magic developer's carpet.
The county should consider Stanford Carr Development's track record in other "affordable" communities on Maui; specifically, with regard to the master planned Kehalani Community Association (KCA) in Wailuku.
Talk to the homeowners at KCA. Seek their testimony and ask for a list of conditions that were never met.
All too often, developers, with the blessing of the county and state, follow this pathway, and the people suffer the end result. I sometimes wonder if our officials are deaf, dumb and blind to the past. It really is truly remarkable.
The Maui Planning Commission should check it out. Do some research on Stanford Carr Development before granting approval to this highly questionable, poorly planned community in the heart of our beloved Lahaina.
ELEANOR DIETZ, Lahaina
Global sea level rise predicted
The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported recently.
The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least ten feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that, it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis.
"This is really happening," said Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA's programs on polar ice and helped oversee some of the research. "There's nothing to stop it now. But you are still limited by the physics of how fast the ice can flow."
Both papers conclude that warm water up-welling from the ocean depths has most likely triggered an inherent instability that makes the West Antarctic ice sheet vulnerable to a slow-motion collapse. And one paper concludes that factors some scientists had hoped might counteract such a collapse will not do so.
The new finding appears to be the fulfillment of a prediction made in 1978 by an eminent glaciologist, John H. Mercer of the Ohio State University. He outlined the uniquely vulnerable nature of the West Antarctic ice sheet and warned that the rapid human release of greenhouse gases posed "a threat of disaster."
He was assailed at the time, but in recent years, scientists have been watching with growing concern as events have unfolded in much the way Dr. Mercer predicted.
Turn Kahoma Village into a park
On Saturday, May 31, at 10 a.m., we are staging a gathering at the corner of Front Street and Kenui Street to gain support for changing the Kahoma Village development into a park.
It is Lahaina's last open space and should be preserved as a park with jogging/walking paths, playground for the keikis, benches, restrooms, dog park, pavilion for cultural events, Baby Beach parking, etc.
It would be a shame to pave over our last open space in Lahaina makai of the highway. We would ask the developer to do a land swap and build somewhere else.
We are not opposed to affordable housing, but this park would serve a hundred times the amount of people as it would a development.
I'm asking residents, parents, children to come down, show your support and sign a petition. Alone we are few, but together we can make a change - but only if you come.
The gathering will be short; then you can go about your day. Please come and help make this park a reality.
ERIC SALAWICH, Lahaina