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Agency welcomes comments on Villages of Leiali‘i

By Staff | Apr 1, 2010

The Villages of Leiali‘i Affordable Housing Project is slated on 1,033 acres of ceded lands near Lahaina Civic Center.

LAHAINA — The Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp. (HHFDC) is moving forward with its massive Villages of Leiali‘i Affordable Housing Project.

Two land use plans are proposed — one with 2,923 residential units and the other with 4,043 units — on 1,033 acres of ceded lands owned by the state near Lahaina Civic Center.

An Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice for the project has been published in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “The Environmental Notice” publication.

The document is available for review at http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Maui/2010s/2010-03-08-MA-EISPN-Villages-of-Leialii.pdf.

The public may submit comments on issues that should be evaluated in the environmental review process until April 6. 

Leiali‘i is not included in the new Maui Island Plan and its Urban Growth Boundaries.

HHFDC’s overall goal is “to increase housing opportunities that are affordable to Hawai‘i’s workforce and lower- and moderate-income households,” the document states.

“Provision of new housing near jobs in Lahaina and the Kaanapali resort will tend to reduce commuting traffic, and hence congestion, in Lahaina and on the route to Central Maui.

“The Villages of Leiali‘i will create a community based on sustainable building and design principles to serve West Maui residents. Proposed land uses will include single-family and multifamily residential housing units with a range of densities, neighborhood parks, and a mixed-use (commercial and residential) town center with open space. Sites for two elementary schools have been identified.”

Fifty percent of the total residential units would be offered as affordable housing, including for-sale and rental options.

The Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice states, “There is a need for housing units that are affordable to Hawai‘i’s workforce households in West Maui, especially in areas close to employment centers. This issue is particularly critical for lower and moderate-income families, as housing costs are often above their borrowing capabilities. HHFDC intends to issue a RFP (request for proposals) for prospective developers to implement the project. 

“The main goal of this project is to develop a master planned residential community that offers excellent facilities and services to the West Maui community while remaining sensitive to the integrity of the natural environment. As the cost of living in Hawai‘i has continued to rise, it has become ever more important to provide quality residential options to members of lower and moderate-income groups close to major employment centers, such as those in West Maui.

“Current residents of the West Maui region have tremendous difficulty finding affordable homes. In fact, the HHFDC has determined that the demand for reasonably priced residential units in West Maui is at a critical stage, and is set to grow even more serious as more resort facilities open in the area.” 

Given the ceded lands issue, HHFDC reported that it intends to lease property or comply with Act 176 to transfer land ownership at the Villages of Leiali‘i. 

Comments must be sent to the proposing agency, along with copies to the accepting authority and consultant.

The proposing agency address is: Mr. Stanley Fujimoto, Project Manager, Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation, 677 Queen St., Suite 300, Honolulu, HI 96813. The fax number is (808) 587-0600.

The address for the environmental consultant is: Susan A. Sakai, Vice President/Director of Planning, Belt Collins Hawaii Ltd., 2153 North King St., Honolulu, HI 96819. The fax number is (808) 538-7819.

The accepting authority is the Office of the Governor; send comments to Ms. Janice Takahashi, Chief Planner, Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation, 677 Queen St., Suite 300, Honolulu, HI 96813. The fax number is (808) 587-0600.