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LETTERS for the March 18 issue

By Staff | Mar 19, 2021

Residents concerned about height of Napili home

(The following letter was sent to Maui County Planning Director Michele McLean.)

Reaching out to you today regarding the building currently under construction at the corner of Lower Honoapiilani Road and Hui Drive in Napili, Maui.

As this building has “come up out of the ground,” the neighbors have become concerned and alarmed primarily by its height. Those who have been residents and property owners in Napili for decades have assumed that building heights were limited to two stories, as stated in Napili Civic Improvement District of 1964.

The purpose of that ordinance was, and is, to keep Napili from having high-rise developments around the beach and bay. This building seems to ignore that district ordinance completely. Here are the facts, as I’ve discovered since becoming aware of the issue, thanks in part to the copy of the permit you have supplied to a neighbor, Mr. Salem.

1. The structure was granted an SMA permit in April 2019 for construction of a single-family residence on vacant lot at 5385 Lower Honoapiilani Road.

2. The height, when finished, will be 45 feet, which includes a rooftop pool, hot tub, built-in barbecue/kitchen patio area and elevator to reach same.

3. Looking at the plans on the permit, I can see that there are two enclosed stories, but each floor apparently has 16-foot ceilings — twice the height of most or all lower floors in Napili resorts.

4. On the Maui County Website regarding the parcel, the parcel is designated as an apartment, which has different rules/parameters for buildings than those stated in the Napili Civic Improvement District.

Here are questions the Napili community is now asking of the Maui County Planning Department:

1. Were the immediate neighbors notified, given copies of the plans and made aware of the height and configuration of this structure? Were they asked to give review/ comments? Note: I am aware that Jim Buika told several community members at the end of a meeting of Napili Bay and Beach Foundation (NBBF) on April 24, 2019, that a permit had just been issued (April 19, 2019) for a building on that site. He also noted that he had gotten them to agree to put in four curbside parking slots on Hui Drive, as he knew NBBF had been looking for better beach parking solutions than now exist (unimproved roadsides only). For my part, I celebrated the fact that there would be four beach parking spaces, and assumed the building would conform to the two-story limit in place for more than 50 years. I regret not taking time to look at the building details.

2. Does the Napili Civic Improvement District provide the legal guidelines for building heights in the area as shown in the 2019 zoning map? Does it take precedence over individual building plans in order to preserve “the orderly and harmonious appearance and esthetic” of the area?

3. Will you help us make this right by Zoom meeting with us in the next week or two to discuss our options and to design an action plan that we can all live with?

Napili Bay and Beach Foundation has been in place for more than 14 years, with the mission to protect and improve the health of Napili Beach and Bay. Although this is slightly “mauka” of that mission, the negative effects of more “hard surfaces” and more traffic to the area also lead to more polluted runoff into the bay. This was cited in the West Maui Watershed Plan (2015) as a major issue for reef health at Napili.

All NBBF Board Members are in favor of challenging the SMA permit for this project as planned. Several other members of the Napili community have also expressed this opinion but aren’t included in this note due to time constraints. We appreciate your help working this out.

PAT B. LINDQUIST, Napili Bay and Beach Foundation

This is your brain on parenting

Here are three things policymakers, practitioners and businesses can embrace to support families in growing stronger and more resilient.

Time for a Mom Plus Plan — Let’s apply the research findings highlighted by Dr. Watamura and Dr. Kim and create robust, inclusive policies and supports that double-down on moms as well as bring in fathers, grandparents, adoptive and nonbiological parents, too. Check out the Alameda County, California Fathers Corps for clear steps toward a Mom Plus Plan — seven principles to support dads as parents, too.

Modernize antiquated workplace mind sets and polices, and include all parenting adults. Fathers, aunties and grandparent guardians experience the same brain changes as they transition to parenting but often with less support. Nonbiological parents include adoptive and same-sex couples as well. Too many workplaces offer maternal leave rather than parental leave, and many community programs are geared only to moms. Family Values @ Work shares the “faces of paid leave” — people striving to care for their families without falling off an economic cliff. We need to enable anyone in the parenting role to spend significant time in the early years with their children, as it assists with the brain development most beneficial to both.

Find ways to lower stress, particularly toxic stress permanently, and especially as we address the impacts of both COVID-19 and racism. Our top job: consider how to prevent or minimize toxic stress that can undermine parenting. Toxic stress is more than regular stress. It is stress that happens in the context of low support.

At Northwestern University, Darius Tandon has developed Mothers and Babies and Fathers and Babies — two national programs that work with moms and dads to help them prepare mentally and physically for parenthood. Proven programs, like Tandon’s, use two-generation approaches that target adult mental health to cultivate well-being and enhance parent-child relationships. Parenthood changes everything, including your brain. It’s a “no-brainer” — an opportunity we don’t want to miss.

ANNE MOSLE, Aspen Institute