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Draft EA published for 1,128- lot Honokowai Master Plan

By BY LOUISE ROCKETT - | Jul 16, 2021

HONOKOWAI — With potentially over 1,000 residences added to the Hawaiian Homes inventory above Honokowai, housing opportunities for Native Hawaiians have improved on the West Side.

The Honokowai Master Plan, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA)/Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact (AFONSI) was released last week Thursday, July 8, in The Environmental Notice.

The estimated 777-acre proposed project is located in the Honokowai ahupua’a, Ka’anapali moku about five miles north of Lahaina, mauka of Honoapiilani Highway between Kaka’alaneo Drive and Kapalua Airport, mostly in the county’s AG Agriculture zoning district.

The elevation of the master plan ranges from 15 to 700 feet above sea level.

Most of the land is moderately sloped and thickly vegetated with grasses, shrubs and small trees.

Part of the project area includes a water treatment facility. There is also a large paved area and a base yard with a few buildings.

Honokowai Valley runs through it.

Today the bulk of the site is covered with non-native plants revegetating the pineapple fields.

The fee simple landowner is DHHL, and it will lease homestead lots to its beneficiaries, homestead associations and/or other tenants.

According to department policy, beneficiaries are defined as all Native Hawaiians — 50 percent or more –and their successors.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act vests DHHL with exclusive authority to control its lands.

Using the Beneficiary Consultation Process as a guide, appropriate land uses for the Master Plan were identified, with the intent of providing direct and indirect gains to beneficiaries and programs in the form of improved lands, homesteading opportunities, agriculture, community supporting activities and revenue generation.

The intent is to repurpose current fallow lands previously in pineapple production to subsistence agriculture, residential, community, commercial and industrial use.

The goal is to build a subsistence subdivision.

There was an assessment of the alternative land uses during the DHHL’s Beneficiary Consultation Process, and a Master Plan was selected that would generate the most homes/lots: Subsistence Agricultural Homesteads: 250 homes on 337 acres; Residential Homesteads: Single Family, 335 lots/homes on 70 acres; Residential Homestead: Multi-family, 543 lots/homes on 35 acres.

Other planned uses on the remaining 321 acres include community agriculture; parks; commercial; conservation, gulches and buffers; industrial; roads; and county facilities.

The total number of homes/lots is 1,128, ranging from one-half-acre to three acres in size.

Infrastructure completion is anticipated in 2027.

The development of the residential components is forecast to be undertaken in two phases.

Phase 1 consists of up to 57 subsistence agricultural homesteads to the north of Honokowai gulch.

Phase 2 incorporates up to 394 homesteads, including single-family, and subsistence agricultural homesteads, agricultural space and neighborhood parks.

The construction of the remaining elements will be incorporated into the plan in the future.

The project is estimated to be built and occupied by 2028. DHHL has been vigilant in the planning of the Honokowai Native Hawaiian development.

“To determine whether the implementation of the Master Plan may have a significant impact on the physical and human environment, all phases and expected consequences of the Master Plan have been evaluated, including potential primary, secondary, short-range, long-range and cumulative impacts. Based on this evaluation, DHHL anticipates issuing a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI),” the assessment read.

Additionally, hundreds of pages were included in the DEA, including, but certainly not limited to, cultural and archeological studies, environmental and traffic assessments and hydrologic calculations.

Information about the smallest insect and Hawaiian hoary bat can be gleaned from the document.

Community outreach was an important part of the process. A hard copy is available at Lahaina Public Library. It can be found online at oeqchawaii@doh.hawaii.gov.

The 30-day public review and comment deadline is Aug. 9. Respond to State of Hawaii, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Julie-Ann Cachola, (808) 620-9500, julie-ann.cachola@hawaii.gov.

Forward a copy to Master Plan Consultant PBR HAWAII & Associates Inc., 1001 Bishop St., Suite 650, Honolulu, HI 96813, or contact Selena Pang at (808) 521-5631 or spang@pbrhawaii.com.