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LUC to discuss Olowalu Town Master Plan application in meetings this week

By Staff | Nov 17, 2015

KAHULUI – The future of Olowalu will be discussed this week.

Olowalu Town LLC and Olowalu Ekolu LLC have filed a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Olowalu Town Master Plan (OTMP) and are seeking a determination of acceptability by the state Land Use Commission (LUC).

The developers have filed an application to amend the Land Use District Boundary of 320 acres of lands situated at Olowalu from the Agricultural District to the Rural and Urban Districts.

A hearing on the Final EIS is scheduled this week Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 18-19, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, commencing at 9:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively.

The final FEIS cites, “The Master Plan area is currently defined by 23 parcels located in the State Land Use ‘Agricultural’ District encompassing 636 acres.”

“The OMTP,” the report continues, “proposes to establish a new community in the once thriving Olowalu plantation town.”

The mixed-use vision includes 1,500 residential dwellings, “with commercial and support services, such as, but not limited to, parks, schools, private water and sewer services.”

Dwellings are defined diversely as single-family and multi-family, and include houses, apartments, townhouses, workforce housing, cottages, rural homes, farmsteads and lodging facilities.

Workforce housing will be provided in keeping with the Maui County Code. Market sales “may include units which may sell for an average of $750,000 for single-family units and $580,000 for multi-family units.”

The plan is to construct a decentralized wastewater treatment plant at the north end on the mauka side of the highway, to include a R-1 storage tank for the reuse of the water from the treatment plant for irrigation purposes.

A “small scale energy system” is incorporated into the proposal.

The design is lofty, envisioning a “sustainable pedestrian-friendly community which will allow residents to live within walking distance of stores, schools, parks, employment opportunities, gathering centers, beaches/shoreline and other social and civic resources,” in the currently plantation-style community located four miles south of Lahaina.

The Master Plan proposes the relocation of Honoapiilani Highway to a mauka alignment. The existing highway will be preserved along with its canopy of monkey pod trees and converted to a secondary coastal route.

Build-out is projected over a ten-year time frame.

The Land Use Commission currently designates the land as Agriculture and Conservation, with 119 acres in the district classified as Prime Ag land. In the West Maui Community Plan, its designation is Agriculture and Open Space.

Situated on the southwestern foothills of the West Maui Mountains, Olowalu is known for its small village environs, including the Olowalu General Store and Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.

Surrounding the store are plantation era single-family homes, including a cluster located south of the general store referred to as Kapa’iki and Olowalu Church.

Makai of the highway are the former plantation manager’s house, associated residences and a privately operated campground. On Luuwai Street, mauka of the highway, is the 14-lot Olowlau Mauka Subdivision.

The OTMP is facing a rigorous land use entitlement approval process accompanied by numerous hearings and public meetings, including: 1) State District Boundary Amendment; 2) West Maui Community Plan Amendment; and 3) Change in Zoning.

The details of the plan are telling and extensive, and the final FEIS (four volumes) is easily accessed through the Maui Tomorrow website at maui-tomorrow.org/olowalu-luc-hearing/.