Wailea 670 Not Living Up to Conditions

When the Wailea 670 (Honua’ula) development was granted a zoning change from agricultural 30 conditions were imposed as Maui County law.  Sierra Club observes that not all these conditions are being met and has filed a lawsuit challenging the Wailea 670 EIS.

Additionally, the Sierra Club has submitted testimony to the County Council for the annual review of Wailea 670 (Honua’ula) condition compliance pointing out the conditions that the developer is violating.  This is the testimony:

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Wailea 670/Honua’ula EIS Accepted

Sierra Club Maui has submitted extensive comments on the Wailea 670 EIS through the whole process. Thanks to our comments, some parts of the EIS were improved.

The Maui PlanningCommission, as accepting authority, reviewed the Final EIS yesterday. Several areas of the EIS were clearly inadequate or evasive, however, the Planning Depart staff told the Commission it was complete, the Commissioners asked questions for a few hours, and then voted to accept it.

Below are Maui Group comments. They are consistent with our past comments that Chapter 343 actually requires examination of alternative actions to include “a rigorous exploration and objective evaluation of the environmental benefits and costs of the proposed action..

Our comments noted that the alternative of a 130 acre preserve and a development footprint of 540 acres did not receive factual analyses but was dismissed through unsupported assumptions. For example, the EIS stated that a “substantial number” of units would need to be relocated, but gave no specific number.

The analyses did not provide any discussion of infrastructure costs that could be avoided for roads, sewer hook ups, water lines, etc if the 130 acres did not have housing development and what tradeoff that would be to offset costs of providing the additional infrastructure in the northern 80% of the property.

We submitted an alternative project design map showing the southern 20% of the parcel as preserve, but with four and a half proposed golf course holes in that section left in place. The rational for this was that the number of holes in this section was originally proposed to be 10. Then it was eight, then six, now four and a half. Golf course greens, while not ideal for cultural preservation, are somewhat flexible.

The FEIS’s strongest case against leaving the 130 acres as preserve was that it could force the whole golf course to be eliminated as well as eliminate the proposed holding ponds to mix brackish and reclaimed water.

By leaving the holes on the map, that argument disappears. CH 343 requires that alternatives be considered even if they cost more.

If 504 Single Family lots, which are now proposed to be sprawled over a total 274 acres, were compacted by 50 acres and all fit into the northern 80% of the land, the 50 acres now proposed for single family view homes in the southern 20% of the land where the 130 acre preserve is needed, could be left as native plant habitat.

Instead of a 130 acre preserve, W670 is proposing a 40-acre native habitat easement in the southern 20% of the land. This area leaves out many concentrations of native plants. They are “offsetting” that loss by offering to fence around 250 acres of Ulupalakua Ranch Land in Kanaio. W670 spokesman, Jencks told the Maui Planning Commission that he is letting Ulupalakua Ranch use his W670 well waters for construction water during the ‘Auwahi windmill road building, in “trade” for this easement.

USFWS still wants the 130 acres, (July 3, 2012 letter) but may be under pressure to settle for 40. What is not being discussed in the Wailea 670 Final EIS is the fact that the Kanaio habitat is at 3,000 foot elevation , while the Palauea -Keauhou habitat (Wailea 670) is located between 400 and 800 ft elevation. These are the rarest dryland habitats. It is these lowland habitats for the endangered Blackburn sphinx moths and various native dryland forest plants that USFWS and others hope to keep viable. The lands of Wailea 670 are an important link because they are located between Puu o Kali and Ahihi-Kinau dryland forest preserve areas.

This is why most of the southern 20% of Wailea 670 lands are being proposed for critical habitat by the USFWS for the rare awikiwiki vine as it is being evaluated to be listed as an endangered species. To shrink the possible habitat available in Wailea 670, just does not make biological sense. To redesign the project, while it is still in a relatively fluid state, does make sense.

Sierra Club Comments on Wailea 670 EIS follow:

From: Lucienne de Naie July 24, 2012
Sierra Club Maui Group
P.O. Box 610
Haiku, HI 96708

To: Maui County Planning Commission

Re: Honua’ula LLC Final EIS Hearing

Greetings Chair Hiranaga and Commission Members,

One of the main purposes of an EIS is to analyze alternatives to the proposed action.

• The Honua’ula Draft EIS discussed six alternative proposals, but included no plan with a 130 acre preserve. Maui Planning Commission asked the applicants to include this alternative in the FEIS.

The Honua’ula Final EIS included the 130 acre preserve design option specified in its conditions of zoning, but dismissed it by providing broad generalizations, rather than factual comparisons.

We ask that the Commission not find this section acceptable.

Our laws specify a very different approach, asking that

1) “particular attention be given to alternatives that enhance environmental quality, avoid, reduce or minimize some or all of the project’s adverse environmental affects, costs and risks…”

2) “rigorous exploration and objective evaluation of the environmental impacts..” and

  1. “Analysis shall be sufficiently detailed to allow the comparative evaluation..”

The project design of Wailea 670 is governed by four documents.

  1. the State LUC Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (1994)
  2. Title 19.90A of Maui County Code which defines Project District 9 in the Kihei-Makena Community Plan
  3. Ordinance No. 3554 which sets out 30 standard and project specific conditions for Project District 9
  4. Kihei-Makena Community Plan

Condition 27 of Ordinance 3554 requires a “preservation/mitigation plan for the conservation of native Hawaiian plants and significant cultural sites in Kihei-Makena Project District 9..” be established by easement in perpetuity. A minimum preservation standard is defined as …”The Easement shall comprise the portion of the property south of latitude 20°40’15.00″N, excluding any portions that the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Corps of Engineers find do not merit preservation, but shall not be less than 18 acres and shall not exceed 130 acres.”

We are submitting, for purposes of discussion, a map that portrays the project with the130 acre preservation standard with three and a half golf course holes incorporated into the preservation area design. The single family and multi family homes proposed within the 130 acre preservation area, as defined above, would be shifted to the northern 540 acres of the project.

Most advocates of “Smart Growth” favor compact development patterns such as this map suggests, to minimize costs of distribution of infrastructure, road building etc. and protect unique resources. The EIS should analyze this option and supply adequate financial estimates of costs to permit an actual comparison of options. A value should also be placed on the existing 130 acre dryland forest ecosystem and its biological services.

  • This design would not eliminate the golf course and its drainage and water storage capacities in the Southern portion of the project.
  • Would avoid costly road building, sewer pipe installation, potable water delivery and extensive site grading in the roughest terrain on the souther 20% of the property.
  • Could cut down on overall non- potable water needs.

• Would allow historic Kalama-Kanaio Road to remain along its present alignment rather than be rerouted as is presently proposed and conform to the map in Title 19.90A.

  • Would satisfy condition 27 and provide protection for native ecosystem as well as the numerous documented and undocumented cultural sites. Could save costly cultural site preservation plan implementation.
  • Would not significantly reduce the number of permits housing units.
  • Would conform with the combined guidelines of the three governing documents.
  • Could provide a wilderness park area which could enhance property values and be eligible for funding programs.

The FEIS does not inform us of the number of proposed homes in the 130 acre preserve , so our discussion is based on theoretical numbers until those specifics are provided to this Commission and the public as is required for “analyses sufficiently detailed to allow the comparative evaluation” of alternatives.

The density parameters in documents defining the project have flexibility. In Title 19.90A the minimum lot size in the SF subdistrict is 7,500 sq ft,. The FEIS speaks to having SF lot sizes between 7,000 and 20,000 sq ft. Ordinance 3554 specifies an average density of 2.5 units /ac or less and the LUC Findings of Fact specify SF at 3.1 to 4.1 units/ac.

While the LUC approved a document that proposed 2,000 units, two golf courses and several lodges on site, both the proposed plan and the LUC version have the range of SF units around 500. One solution to shifting the proposed SF units from the Preserve to the North would be to pursue the average density specified in the LUC approval: 3 units/acre instead of the average density in Ord. 3554 of 2.5 units/ac.

The shift of the Multifamily units could be considered in several ways, once again, the proposed unit count would need to be known. The VMX subdistrict is defined in all the documents as a:

“..community center comprised of a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational and community facilities serving the needs of residents and guests.”

The FEIS refers to the residential use in the VMX district, but does not assign one housing unit to the VMX district. If the MF units from the Preservation area were shifted into the VMX zone, even at the low density of 6 units/ac above proposed businesses and shops at least 150 MF units could be accommodated on 25 of the 53 acres of VMX. Only 196 market priced MF units are proposed on 60 acres. If half (100) were proposed for the preserve area, it would seem feasible to accommodate them through this shift. This would create a VMX which actually fits the description proposed, without pushing more density into the existing MF areas.

Sierra Club Maui urges the Commission to request that the applicant consider this alternative design option in the EIS.


Lucienne de Naie

Sierra Club Conservation Committee.

Maui Sierra Club Testimony Points Out Olowalu Flaws

Sierra Club Maui Group Aug 7, 2010
PO BOX 791180
Pa’ia, HI 96779

To: State Land Use Commission
PO Box 2359
Honolulu, HI 96804
Attention: Dan Davidson

Re: Comments on EISPN for Proposed Olowalu Town Master Plan
TMK (2) 4-8-003: 84, 98-118 and 124

Aloha Kakou

Sierra Club Maui Group has been tracking proposed developments at Olowalu since the first Ag subdivision was proposed a decade ago, We appreciate this opportunity to offer comments on the EISPN for the Proposed Olowalu Town Master Plan, TMK (2) 4-8-003: 84, 98-118 and 124.

Our concerns noted in our comments submitted for the project’s CDUA and SMA applications, processed in 2000, still hold true. Although the present project is portrayed as being under new ownership, it does not appear as if any formal arrangements to that matter have been finalized. That being the case, we must comment that a number of comments we have offered earlier, appear to have been proven true over time. This should cast doubt on the viability of future promises of mitigations to solve the impacts of an even larger project in a very sensitive area.


The EISPN includes a copy of a 2003 baseline study on sediment loading, water quality and selected marine life research (Brown, et al) that was conducted in 2001-02. Sierra Club and others recommended Dr. Brown for that particular study, since he had monitored reefs in the Olowalu study area since 1991 through the CRAMP.research program. The landowners, Olowalu Elua Associates, agreed to appropriate $20,000 to fund the 2 year study as part of a settlement of concerns raised by Na Kupuna O Maui during the project’s SMA hearing. Dr. brown recommended ongoing monitoring be done over at least a three to five year period, after the baseline study was complete.

At the time he was requested to conduct the baseline study of Olowalu, Dr. Brown characterized the Olowalu reef as “the best leeward reef in Maui and probably the whole state.” In hearings held by the General Plan Advisory committee and the Maui Planning Commission in 2008 and 2009, numerous marine biologists and researchers offered the same view and asked that the mauka lands not be urbanized and the reefs and water quality be put at risk.

Post Development Monitoring Not Provided

A number of shoreline and fourteen mauka parcels were developed in Olowalu after the baseline study was complete. Dr. Brown clearly stated in his 2003 report that the effects of non-point source pollution and shoreline development on the reefs are “more difficult to detect, because changes to the community landscape are subtle and occur over longer time periods.”

The baseline study was intended as part of a regular, periodic monitoring program for the Olowalu reefs. Nearly a decade has passed and no additional monitoring reports are included or referred to in the EISPN.

In keeping with the proposed project’s intention to be ‘state of the art” and use innovative engineering and planning strategies to be environmentally friendly it should be discussed in the DEIS why no additional monitoring was done to create a complete data profile of year-by-year conditions, post-development. The fact that a new marine study will be included in the DEIS is treated like a “gift’ offered by the landowners, when in fact, it is a long overdue part of an ongoing responsibility to help manage the health of the irreplaceable Olowalu reefs.

We hope that the Land Use Commission will evaluate carefully if the project’s proposed efforts to mitigate impacts to one of the best remaining reefs in the main Hawaiian islands are adequate, or will follow the same pattern of unfulfilled responsibilities seen over the past decade. We might note that large sums of money have spent by the current Olowalu partnership on public relations over the same timeframe, ironically , some of that was aimed at convincing the public that the project sincerely valued the health of the reefs, rather than investing in ongoing reef monitoring that could further reef health.

The EISPN indicated that consultation will be done with the State DOH to determine compliance with Section 401 Water Quality Certification and Coastal Zone Management Consistency. How can agencies made a sound evaluation of the project when so little information about the project’s impacts to ocean water quality and reefs is being provided at this phase?


The EISPN concludes that the project’s one well will provide adequate potable water, estimated at .75 mgd (750,000 gal per day, or 500 gal day per household) for the proposed 1500 new units. However, estimates of Olowalu’s projected water use listed in the EISPN lack any supporting data and are not consistent with reported use patterns by existing residents over the past several years.

As explained in more detail below, 2007 and 2008 use figures for the existing users of the Olowalu Elua private water system (approximately 50 hookups) show a minimum use of 600 gallons per day/ per household with a 12 month average demand of 1000 gal/day and a peak demand shooting up to 1400 gal/day during the few driest months. It appears that at least some of these residents also have separate non-potable systems that are supplied by stream water. This is a far different demand scenario than that presented in the EISPN.

Olowalu Elua’s well, installed in 2000, has not pumped more than 75, 000 gal a day according to available records. Its rated capacity is 250,000 gallons a day, one third of the amount called for in the EISPN (750,000 gal/day), and less than one fifth what average daily demand rate would be (1.5 mgd) if Olowalu Village had 1500 new hookups using water at the same average rate of current customers.

There is no discussion of the impact of pumping even 750,000 gal/day would have on Olowalu stream although Olowalu Elua’s 2000 SMA Aplication and CDUA acknowledged that the streams were fed by underground sources. The stream originates in the Conservation District Lands. Will Olowalu Town developers seek Conservation District review of impacts their potable water system may place on the public trust resources of Olowalu stream? No such process is referred to in the EISPN. Pioneer mill wells in the area pumped brackish water. Olowalu Elua Water Company is stepping into uncharted territory and should conduct substantial testing before committing to a project of this size. Test results should be included in the DEIS.

Will Peak Water Demands be Unsustainable?

If Olowalu had 1500 new residential hook-ups and an unspecified number of business and civic facilities, a peak demand of 1400 gal a day per hookup for the residences alone would demand over 2 mgd, the entire sustainable yield of the Olowalu Aquifer. The EISPN gives no specific figures for expected numbers of single family, multifamily, ag, rural and business units and their respective water demands under average and peak demand conditions. This is a basic rule of water use planning. If a project claims to be sustainable, this data should have been provide as early as possible.

The EISPN does not specify water use demand figures for peak use periods or include fireflow demands in this fire prone area. All this information could have easily been included in the Prep notice, to allow the public and agencies more time to comment. It must be included in the DEIS

The EISPN does not specify if the existing 19 ag lots and the 25 or so additional residences at Old Olowalu (Kapaiki) Village will be included in water demand figures. The DEIS should make this clear.

Can Current System Uses Predict Future Demands?

The EISPN does not give current usage levels and demands on the private Olowalu system although they are easily available from the State Water Commission. The Olowalu Elua water system well, in 2003-04 research done at the State water commission, reported having 18 hookups and having a pump capacity of 250,000 gal/day (.25 mgd) .

State Water Commission reports filed during 2007 and 2008 noted pumping totals ranging from 30,000 gal day to 70,000 gal day for the private well that is the sole source of the Olowalu system. (Well number 4936-01 -Olowalu Elua). The 12 month moving average pumping was 50,000 gal a day throughout both years.

Neither the EISPN nor the Olowalu Elua Water company webpage indicated how many users the system currently serves. The DEIS should make this clear.

If the Olowalu system serves19 ag subdivision lots, Olowalu Plantation House activity venue, Camp Olowalu and the 20 odd residences of Old Olowalu Village (Kapaiki) it may be estimated to have around 50 hookups. Based upon available data, at a moving average of 50,000 gal day, each Olowalu residence would use 1000 gal per hookup, not 500, as specified in the EISPN. If there are fewer hookups, use rates would be higher.

At those rates, project demand for a full buildout of 1500 units, under average conditions, could be as much as 1.5 mgd, especially if fireflow, municipal and business use was included. This is twice the demand level that is being suggested in the EISPN.

No figures were given in the EISPN for peak system demand. Current usage

Figures indicate higher demand during several of the drier months a year. Then current system usage jumps from forty to fifty thousand gallons a day to 60 or 70 thousand. If this same pattern holds with a larger customer base, additional wells could be required and the safe yield mark of 90% of Olowalu aquifer’s sustainable yield (1.8 mgd) could be exceeded for 3 to 4 months a year.

It is clear that adequate data has not been presented in the EISPN regarding viable water sources for the project at its proposed size. We would strongly recommend that the Alternatives section of the DEIS include an analyses of several smaller project sizes and their respective water needs.


Figure 12 in the EISPN is a very confusing and poorly detailed map depicting the project area’s vulnerability to flooding and high waves. The EISPN does not include any of the various maps picturing projected sea level rise or the fire hazard ratings for the area. This information, although it may not be the best for project PR, is essential part of an environmental disclosure document.

Figure 12 appears to indicate that around two-thirds of the proposed project area would either be:

  1. subject to flooding during a 100-year storm (Zone X-shaded): the FEMA description of this zone reads: “Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100-year and 500-year floods”
  1. Be part of the base floodplain (Zone AE). The FEMA description of this zone reads: “Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.”
  1. Be part of a river or stream hazard area (Zone AO). The FEMA description of this zone reads: “River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet . These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.”
  1. Be part of a high risk coastal area. (Zone VE)The FEMA description of this zone reads:” Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.”

Less than one third of the entire 636 acre proposed project site appears to be in an area of minimal risk according to the FEMA flood map. While the project proudly declares its intention to create cultural preserve of 110 acres and a series of coastal parks, it should also provide a clear map overlaying the proposed open space and preserve areas with the respective hazard zones.

It is possible that sound planning would indicate that additional lands should be added to these preserves to minimize risk to future homes and businesses and the project’s unit count adjusted appropriately.

Several areas at 26 % risk of flooding during the next 30 years appear to be included in the proposed urbanized areas. With such vague, poorly defined maps, it is hard to determine the full extent of potential flood impacts.

One thing is clear. It is remarkable how little of the project area lies out of the flooding hazard risk zone, and a significant portion of that land is already part of the earlier mauka ag subdivision.

While Olowalu is an area of limited rainfall where floods may occur only every few years, the significant change being proposed by the Olowalu village project to the land should be viewed as a major potential impact to the downslope lands, waters and reefs.

We request that the DEIS include a chart which clearly indicates how many acres of the proposed project are located in each FEMA Flood hazard zone, and what percentage of those acres are proposed to be developed at what densities.

Of note, the EISPN did not depict the areas of gley soil or the traditional pond areas at the southwestern portion of the project area that were investigated and reported by archaeologist Erik Fredricksen in his 1999 AIS report. These are listed in Fredricksen’s AIS and subsequent Preservation Plan. A map indicating these areas (Fig. 13) is included in the recently issued DEA (July 2010) for the proposed Poseley Residence along the Olowalu shore in the project area.

Because the only Master Plan Map of the proposed Olowalu Town subdivision (Fig 4) is so vague and artistic, it is difficult to determine and comment on any impacts proposed residential areas may have to these intermittent wetland areas. We request that a map with the planned urban areas, rural lots and open spaces be included and it be overlaid with the archaeological site map used by Rory Frampton in the Poseley EA. Soil classification maps should clearly show these prospective wetland areas that were tested by Fredricksen and more testing should be done.

Old timers, such as the late David Chenoweth, commented on the ponding that has been traditionally visible at various areas of Olowalu mauka of Honoapiilani Highway. The proposed plan to urbanize Olowalu areas immediately mauka of the highway that now serve as drainage and seepage areas for upslope runoff should be seriously questioned even if the best state of the art drainage basins are being proposed to mitigate the impacts.


Prime ag lands are prime ag lands, even if the present owners are not interested in finding a viable way to keep the majority of the land in agriculture.

The “traditional community of Olowalu” that this project is supposedly “reviving” was based upon large agricultural areas and very small habitation footprints, exactly the opposite of what is being proposed in the Olowalu Town project.

The Land Use Commission should look for more than platitudes about the project’s lack of agricultural use, before taking the irreversible step to turn legendary agricultural lands into another tourist attraction on the way to Lahaina.

The Secondary and Cumulative Impacts section of the DEIS should discuss the impact of nearby lands being designated Urban on existing AG zoned parcels within Olowalu. Will those19 parcels be more likely to ask for zoning changes to break into smaller parcels and qualify for additional house lots?

The Alternatives section of the DEIS should seek out a qualified professional to prepare an alternative Agricultural Village concept with a much smaller population demand and an analyses of crops appropriate to the area’s soils and water supply. A Draft EIS must examine true alternatives to comply with HAR §11-200-17 which specifies content requirements for a DEIS.


The Olowalu Town partnership has spent vast sums on radio shows, video and brochures to push for the urbanization of Olowalu. It is a sad commentary that this “Sustainable Community” has been unwilling to invest in an updated biological survey. Instead the EIS refers to two documents, one from 1999 which possibly only included part of the site and the other, from 2005, which was well done, but covered only 14 acres of the 636 acre site.

No further biological survey work is proposed and the mitigation offered is a vague intention to use native plants where practicable. It is unclear how this disinterest in obtaining any additional knowledge of the area’s traditional flora and fauna through analyses of pollen and other paleo-botanical research matches with the desire to have an “ahupua’a based” community design.

Plants were the building blocks of traditional Hawaiian culture. What harm could an updated botanical survey of the entire property do?


Olowalu Cultural Reserve has a preservation plan for its numerous burials and important cultural sites. It has a Five Year Strategic Plan. It has a dedicated board of directors and regular community involvement.

What it currently appears to lack is just what was mentioned in Sierra Club’s 2000 comments on the Ag subdivision SMA: “Will the community based group overseeing the Olowalu Cultural Reserve be given adequate funding to complete the recommendations of the Cultural Preservation Plan?”

The preservation plan called for construction and /or maintenance of viewing platforms, access trails and landscaped buffers at various cultural sites, such as Kaiwaloa heiau, site 4710- precontact habitation complex, site 4718 heiau, Pu’u Kilea and others. It called for maintenance and protection of Awalua cemetery, various burial mounds and caves and the petroglyphs at Pu’u Kilea.

Ten years have passed and the majority of Olowalu sites are overgrown and

In need of regular attention. Native Hawaiians who come to care for the graves of their kupuna have been told to leave by adjoining property owners.

Olowalu Cultural Reserve board members have worked hard to restore kalo along the stream, a major undertaking, but it appears that they have been given the responsibility, but not the resources to fulfill the promises of the adopted Preservation Plan. The DEIS should discuss what level of resources will be provided and how the lease arrangement for the land can be converted into a perpetual easement.

It is also unclear what the fate of several sites in the area of the proposed new upper road will be. Site 4821 burial scatter, 4699 burial cave, 4701 and the site 4700 complex are all in the vicinity of the proposed road.

The status of the previously documented sites in relationship to the new proposed Olowalu village layout, needs to be clearly explained and shown in a map in the DEIS. With 11 confirmed or probable burial areas already identified in the mauka portion of the project area and one burial area in the makai portion, the likelihood of further burials is high.

We would recommend a further level of testing be conducted at the LCA sites to determine possible subsurface features as well as the original path of Olowalu stream. The DEIS should discuss protection of Awalua cemetery. It does not appear to be located in the cultural preserve area.

The DEIS should provide a map showing the additional acreage being proposed to be added to the cultural preserve.

Mahalo for this opportunity to comment. We wish to remain a consulted party.

Lucienne de Naie
Sierra Club, Maui Group


Dear Officials,RE: 404 & 401 Permits for Expansion of Ma`alaea Harbor WQC No. 0000231/ Army Authorization No. CW 94-003The Sierra Club, with 4000 members statewide, strongly opposes the expansion of Ma`alaea as proposed in the most recent mitigation plan and discussed in the draft water quality certification. Issuance of these approvals would, among other things, (1) violate the law; (2) degrade water quality; (3) disturb threatened and endangered species; (4) destroy acres of coral reef habitat; (5) destroy surfsites; and (6) destroy a sandy beach. The mitigation plan is simply unacceptable.

The Army Corps cannot allow this project to proceed because of its significant damaging economic and environmental impacts.

The environmental impacts are mentioned below and in the various environmental documents that the Corps has prepared. Further evidence of significant adverse effects will be presented by others in their testimony.

The Department of Health is required by law to follow its own administrative rules. Every provision of Hawai`i Administrative Rules 11-54 is a water quality standard that cannot be violated. By law, DOH must do more than examine the numeric standards.

A. Violation of 11-54-01.1

Waters whose quality are higher than established water quality standards shall not be lowered in quality unless it has been affirmatively demonstrated to the director that the change is justifiable as a result of important economic or social development and will not interfere with or become injurious to any assigned uses made of, or presently in, those waters. 11-54-01.1

The proposal lowers water quality. The July 1994 FSEIS and the internal staff determination (p. 4) note water quality within the Harbor will be degraded. They also note the recreational uses of the area will be interfered with — and in fact will be wiped out: the sandy beach and at least one surfsite will be destroyed.

B. Violation of 11-54-03(c)(1)

By law, the marine waters just outside the existing harbor are Class AA. 11-54-06(a)(2)(A) and 11-54-06(b)(2)(A) specifically define as Class AA, “all waters in state or federal fish and wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries” and “all open waters in the refuges or sanctuaries established by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service.”

Speckelsville Village – New Plan, Old Problems

New Plan  —  Same Problems

A&B’s original Spreckelsville Mauka plan called for 400 golf estate houses on 93 acres with a 95 acre golf course and a 5 acre park. Their new, “smart growth” Spreckelsville Village plan puts 380 units of “mixed housing” on 115 acres with a 90 acre golf course/open space, a 5 acre park and 2 acres of community facilities and commercial shops. Does “smart growth” mean building another “town” of 600-1,000 residents 1/2 mile from Pa’ia?

380 new homes on former ag lands will not recreate the plantation village of yesteryear for local Maui residents. It will place more demands on overburdened water, sewer and school systems, police and public facilities. If Spreckelsville’s current ownership patterns prevail, the majority of Spreckelsville Village units will be sold to nonresidents, many of whom will use their houses as lucrative vacation rentals.

Myth vs. Reality

Spreckelsville had 380 families living in 8 “camps” during plantation days. Villagers worked in nearby fields and had few private cars. Their homes had simple water. electric and plumbing systems. Their children walked to nearby schools, stores, fishing spots and the movie theater. Families had small vegetable plots alongside cane fields.

The new Spreckelsville Village will center around a large golf course and expensive golf course homes. No specific prices are listed for its “mixed” housing. Neighborhood children will be bused or driven to schools in Kahului. Residents or tenants will drive to access work, shopping, medical facilities or recreation sites. “Community gardens” will serve as a buffer between the cane fields and their herbicide laced dust and residents houses.

A&B will need nearly a quarter million gallons a day of water from proposed Ha’iku wells for domestic use in Spreckelsville village. Brackish well water will be pumped for golf course irrigation.

A one way “bypass” from the Pa’ia parking lot on Hana Hwy to the Pa’ia post office on Baldwin Ave. is promised to soften the impact of another 700 cars trying to access crowded North shore roads. After 200 of the 380 units are occupied, a “Traffic Impact Assessment” will be done to determine if additional traffic “mitigations” are needed.

Translation: North shore residents wait in traffic lines while “experts” do
more studies to figure out why.


A&B promises if Spreckelsville Village is approved, they will not develop their Paia School Project District- trading promised affordable housing approved by local citizens for a golf course “village:”

Pa’ia School Project District 
(Approved in the current Ha’iku/Pa’ia Community Plan)
330 housing units on 71 acres including “affordable housing for all income levels “and a section of “self help” lots for low income families to build homes, 7 acres of park and greenbelt along Baldwin Ave. and 2 acres of neighborhood commercial. Adjacent to Paia School (only elementary school in Maui with capacity for more students).

“Spreckelsville Village” Project District 
(Proposed for inclusion in Wailuku/Kahului Community Plan)
380 units on 115 acres, (defined as “mixed housing” with no price range specified, with upscale lots lining proposed golf course), 90 acre golf course and ag buffer zones, 5 acre park, 1 acre parking lot and 2 acre community and neighborhood commercial. Students will attend Kahului schools.

Who Should Plan Spreckelsville’s Future?

Spreckelsville was included in the Pa’ia Community Planning District for the 1980 Community Plan. In 1990, it was moved into the Wailuku/Kahului Community Plan. Community Associations and citizen groups in Ha’iku, Spreckelsville, and Pa’ia have all asked to have Spreckelsville restored to the Pa’ia/Ha’iku Planning area so local residents can have a say in the planning process.


Wailea EIS Comments

Sierra Club Maui Group                                                June 30, 2001
Po Box 791180
Paia, Hi 96779

PBR Hawaii
Attn: Tom Schnell, AICP
1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

RE: DRAFT EIS for proposed Honnua’ula/Wailea 670 Project

Mahalo for this opportunity to offer comments on the Draft EIS for this project on behalf of the six hundred members of Sierra Club Maui Group. Sierra Club has offered input to this project since its expansion to 670 acres in the late 1980’s. We have long felt that the sensitive characteristics of this site and the amount of modification proposed for golf course and housing warranted an updated EIS process. We appreciate the applicant’s response to our request to extend the deadline for comments.

We are disappointed that the so-called EA issued in conjunction with this project, contained so little specific information about what was planned. This lack of two levels of review for a complex project, compressed the public’s opportunity to provide meaningful comments into a very short time frame. While this DEIS is lengthy, it has many sections which appear to be cut and paste from previous sections, with no additional information being offered.

We also believe that this document does not meet the requirements set forth in

HAR 11-200-17(E) which requires proposed actions to provide the information necessary to permit an evaluation of potential environmental impacts in their EIS.

Segmentation of Associated Actions

There are a number of actions associated with this project which are necessary precedents for the larger project and, to be in compliance with HAR 11-200-7 (B), these must be included in the DEIS to avoid segmentation of environmental review. A famous case here on Maui involving Kahana Sunset condominiums established this as an important legal precedent.

The Supreme Court opinion stated: “the Commission is the agency receiving the request for approval of the action, and it is therefore the agency responsible for preparation of the environmental assessment.” In so holding, we recognized that “[i]solating only that particular component of the development for environmental assessment would be improper segmentation of the project.”

This appears to be what is happening with a number of actions connected to the Honua’ula project. Widening of Piilani Hwy from Kilohana to Wailea Ike St. is a required condition of rezoning, as are improvements to Wailea Ike and other intersections. Environmental review for these actions has been done separately and is not included in any meaningful way in the project’s DEIS.

Off-Site Affordable Housing

Likewise there is no discussion, evaluation or mitigation of the impacts of the proposed 250 affordable units in North Kihei (except a plan to reduce traffic impacts required by conditions of rezoning). These are part of the Honua’ula project, although they are located elsewhere.

Major offsite Infrastructure

Offsite wells, transmission lines and storage tanks for potable and non-potable water supplies and wastewater transmission lines are located on private land and will have no environmental review if they are not evaluated in the DEIS. Only the wastewater line has any discussion of botanical review, but no report or survey maps are included.

MECO Power Station Expansion

Basic information about the proposed MECO expansion should be included in the DEIS, since the expansion area adjoins a reservoir area to store brackish water for Wailea resort.

Do transformers contain toxic substances? Is there a minimum distance recommended between electrical equipment and homes, shops or public spaces? The DEIS should present as much information as available, whether MECO decides to expand or not.

While it is mentioned that the present overhead high voltage power lines that transect the property will be relocated underground, it is not mentioned if lines from the proposed Auwahi wind farm would likely be located above ground or below ground? Will specific archaeological review be done along the corridor where the high voltage lines are buried?

When will information be obtained from MECO to meet condition 18 of rezoning, since this information is part of Project District Phase II approval?

Wastewater Treatment Facility

The DEIS does not appear to have the Sewage Disposal Analysis reviewed and commented upon by state and county agencies, as required by condition of rezoning No. 16 prior to Phase II approval. . Instead, it states that;

“For a more detailed analysis Honua‘ula Partners, LLC has engaged Brown and Caldwell Engineers to prepare a Draft Honua‘ula Sewage Disposal Analysis. In accordance with this condition, the Analysis will be submitted to the State DOH and DLNR and the County DEM and DWS for review and comment before Project District Phase II approval. The Analysis, along with reviews and comments, will then be submitted to the Maui County Council for review. “

Since the Planning Commission is responsible for granting the project’s Phase II approval, and the Analysis must be submitted to various agencies for review before Phase II approval, this DEIS should already include the Sewage Disposal Analysis and related comments to provide adequate opportunity for meaningful review and comments by the public and the Planning Commission,

Especially important would be a discussion of comparative wastewater fees for residents. Since affordable homes are guaranteed parity with public facility rates, would Makena Resort’s wastewater system be able to operate with half the customer base at lower fees? Policymakers should have access to this information as early in the process as possible.

Based upon the large volume of critically needed information lacking either any inclusion or review in this DEIS document, Sierra Club would request the accepting authorities to find the document incomplete and premature and request that the DEIS be resubmitted when the missing information can be included. To not take this action is to segment the project, in direct violation of HRS 343 and its applicable rules.

3.6 Biological Resources

The proposed 22 biological preservation area is wholly inadequate, and ultimately neither sound conservation planning nor wise resource utilization. The 143 acres of fragmented preservation areas proposed around the golf course holes in the southern portion of the site does not offer the best strategy for successful management.

Dr. Jonathan Price, an expert in Hawaiian dryland forest preservation commented on the Honua’ula plan:

“the smaller the area preserved, the more intensive the management will need to be. A site of a few acres for example, particularly if divided into scattered smaller units, will require costly, intensive management, in order to maintain even a modicum of ecosystem integrity. On the other hand, setting aside an area of more than 100 acres would require some degree of management, albeit far less intensive than the former scenario.”

The DEIS should analyze a Project Design layout in the Alternatives Section that includes a 130 acre botanical cultural preserve, to be in compliance with condition no 27 of rezoning.

4.1 Cultural Resources

The project’s AIS is based upon methodologies that involve minimal testing (only six of 40 sites, most with one 1ft by 1 ft test unit), inadequate mapping and incomplete fieldwork.

The AIS does not specify how many field sessions involving how many personnel, for how many days have taken place at the project site, nor does it elaborate on the transect areas covered. These are all standard disclosures in archaeological reviews. It is still unclear if actual transects have been completed of the northern 480 acres.

It is clear that when citizens reported during public testimony that numerous additional cultural sites were on the land, they were correct. Twelve new sites with nearly twenty features have been recorded since the last draft AIS in 2001. Citizens continue to submit pictures and locations of additional sites. It is clear that the AIS is far from being complete.

Site evaluation at Honua’ula project does not appear to actually be based upon the State Historic Preservation law process. Especially lacking is a clear assignment of significance Criterion E as specified by 13-284-6(b) 1-5 HAR, which this AIS and DEIS must comply with.

Criterion E is defined in the AIS as: “ applies to sites or places perceived by the contemporary community as having traditional cultural value.”

The AIS version of criteria E omits the following underscored language;

(5). Criterion ‘e’ Have an important value to the Native Hawaiian people, or to another ethnic group of the state due to associations with cultural practices once carried out, or still carried out, at the property or due to associations with traditional beliefs, events or oral accounts – these associations being important to the groups history and cultural identity.

Only the three recorded stepping stone trail sites have been evaluated as significant under criteria E”. One segment of stepping stone trail recorded earlier, placed on a crude map and not assigned a number has seemed to disappear from the inventory survey. It is not explained whether this segment was not relocated, combined with another segment and assigned the same site number or has simply been forgotten. Cultural practitioners have shown photos of several additional unrecorded segments of stepping stone trails on the project site. Some of these trails appear to lead to planting areas. Some make connect with trail segments found on the Wailea golf course or in Palauea preserve further west. No accurate maps have been provided showing relationship of the trail sections. It is unclear whether all are being preserved in their original cultural setting.

4.8.1 Water

Preliminary Engineering Report relies on declaratory statements about the adequacy of the project’s water systems without supporting technical studies to substantiate its claims. There is not enough quantitative data on water systems to permit any impact analysis. There are no independent hydrology reports. The USGS study referred to that purportedly supports higher available flows for Kamaole aquifer, only mentioned the aquifer as one entry in an aquifer chart. The USGS report offered no analysis of the aquifer’s potential SY. The 1988 hydrology report for the project cautioned that Wailea 670’s wells could impact downslope wells in Wailea and comments from Wailea Resort management made the same statement. The DEIS must analyze the proposed use of the Kamaole aquifer for the project’s demand by researching and evaluating the entire range of existing users and the relative pumpage and salinity of their wells. Water fees for residents must also be discussed to comply with rezoning conditions.

4.8.3 Drainage

Drainage plans appear to be elaborate, but there is little quantative data to provide assurance that the assumptions they are based upon will prove to be sufficient to mitigate impacts. For example, one of the larger areas of drainage flow impact, basins 1 through 5 at the north of the project site have a high concentration of high-density urban environment proposed, the lowest percentage of golf course lands to absorb run off, and drainage basin systems not scheduled to be completed until Phase II (2018) or Phase III (2022) of the project. The existing offsite drainage impacts to this area during a 100 yr / 24 storm are huge: over 2,100 cfs (1300 mgd). Currently two 10ft or more diameter culverts are installed to carry water from this sector of the project area under Piilani highway and eventually to the ocean. Options, such as a larger natural buffer area between, Maui Meadows and Honua’ula should be discussed as viable alternatives to mitigate overflows in this high impact area. Currently, less than 4 acres is proposed for this buffer.

To give a blanket statement, that the project’s theoretical system of drainage basins, and absorption by golf courses and open space will mitigate large storm event flows, seems highly speculative. No examples of similar successful designs were included in the DEIS discussion for comparison. Tit also seems risky to assume that pre-existing and off site flows will not need additional containment measures in order not to overwhelm facilities designed for only post development flows. If coastal impacts result from the project, what mitigations will be available to restore the health of public trust resources?

There is no plan for all-important maintenance of the retention basins in the “Master Drainage Plan.”

4.10.5 Parks

One of the project’s 3 private neighborhood parks is located along the makai boundary of the property in a natural gulch area currently subject to high velocity flows during storm events. A park location on either side of the natural gulch would be more practical.

Sierra Club Maui requests that the accepting authorities find this DEIS incomplete and premature. Without including the omitted studies and evaluation information in the DEIS, the project is not in compliance with the environmental review laws of the State of Hawaii. We appreciate this opportunity to share our remarks.

Sierra Club Maui Group,
Lucienne de Naie
Conservation Committee


After 3 (’55, ’59 & ’79) attempts to create a safe harbor at Ma`alaea, the Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a plan for construction of a 620 ft breakwater, and blasting of a new channel. The plan is a relic of 1960’s planning and holds losses for nearly every group of harbor users, surrounding residences and businesses.

Since the Army Corps plan is based on models, there is no guarantee that their $10 million plan will actually effectively block the south swells that threaten harbor safety. Remember, this the same group that thought blasting the reefs of Kalama Park and building a sea wall was a great idea. Time has proven them wrong and the costs are being born by downshore property owners.

The list of losses connected to the Harbor Plan is a long one:

1. Reef Loss
4.8 acres of productive reef, home to over 120 marine species, will be destroyed. The Corps plans to “mitigate” by creating a 3.3 acre artificial reef. No location is given. Another 1.5 acres is expected to grow back along the newly blasted Harbor channel. No statements are made at length of time this will take, or quality of habitat that will result, especially if water quality is changed by siltation (coral reefs are very sensitive to loss of light and silt blocks light).

2. Beach Loss
The last remnant of what was once a wide sandy curve of sandy shoreline along Ma`alaea Bay (inside the current harbor area) will be paved for a parking lot. Several Ma`alaea condos enjoy this beach. Canoe paddlers use it as a landing.

3. Beach Erosion
The addition of yet another hardened structure along the bay (the proposed breakwater) is expected to continue the pattern of downshore erosion that has forced Ma`alaea condo owners to spend $50,000 on sand replenishment in 1998. Sea Grant erosion expert Rob Mullane confirms that “the existence of the harbor accelerated the coastal erosion and beach loss along the shoreline to either side. The harbor acts as a huge sediment sink, which traps large amounts of sand moving along the coast. There used to be sand along the shoreline on either side of the harbor. The seawalls that went up in response to increased rates of coastal erosion contributed to the beach loss along the coast towards Kealia, but the original and major factor was the construction of the harbor.”

4. Siltation
Near shore waters will have greater turbidity (dissolved solids) during 2 year plus construction process and very likely for a long time after. Dredging & blasting causes very fine particles- “silt,” that do not sink and settle like coarser sand, but remain suspended in nearshore waters, smothering reefs and affecting health of marine life. Water quality concerns are dismissed by the Army Corp’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS claims that siltation will not be a problem during construction “if best management practices are followed.” No examples are cited of similar projects that had no adverse impacts. The EIS also expects any post construction silt to be naturally carried away to deeper waters. Experts from US Fish and Wildlife Service disagreed with this analysis and called for a plan that did not destroy so much marine habitat.

5. Surf Spots
A popular surfing spot enjoyed by Maui’s youth will be destroyed, the Corps EIS claims no other breaks (including the famous “Ma`alaea Pipeline”) will be affected. Those who have grown up surfing Ma`alaea disagree. They claim maps in the EIS show the pipeline in the wrong place (conveniently further down from the harbor expansion) impact zone. They further believe that the surf at several other breaks will be modified by the proposed plan.

6. Whale Habitat
Humpback whales frequent the waters of Ma`alaea Bay from November to May. They are often observed 100 yds or closer to the reef area slated for demolition. The Corps overcame objections of state and Federal agencies claiming the plan would harm whales by stating that the proposed harbor plan will allow blasting and dredging of reefs only from June to November (but exceptions can be made by giving a 10 day notice to National Marine Fisheries Service!) Once the years of construction are complete, the threats to whales continues due to doubled harbor capacity – 130 additional slips, 51 commercial. Increased commercial activity degrades water quality through pollutants released from boat engines and puts 50 more commercial boats making multiple trips a day in a sensitive habitat area where whales seek a sheltered place to bear and nurse their young.

7. Turtles
Extremely endangered Hawksbill turtles nest and hatch young from June to September (the time proposed for reef destruction to avoid whale season) at nearby Kealia Beach (.7 mile from Ma`alaea harbor). Young hatchlings rest and feed on the Bay’s reefs before heading out to sea. Turtles find shelter in undersea caves and crevices formed by natural reefs. Concrete structures do not offer such habitat. Green sea Turtles (threatened, but not endangered) are found in abundance in the area surrounding the proposed breakwater. Their supply of limu will be killed off during the destruction of reefs. They will be forced to leave their chosen home and compete for food elsewhere if they are not directly killed or injured during reef destruction.

8. Loss of Sustenance Gathering Sites
Reef’s that will be destroyed are home to abundant fish, sealife and limu. Local people dive and spearfish and gather limu here. Years of construction activity with noisy barges, dredging, transport barges etc. will disturb local residents, surfers, fisherman and boat users as well as marine life.

9. Loss of Resources for Existing Fishing Fleet
Harbor expansion plans do not mention the very real possibility of slip fees being raised. Increased commercial competition will divide the existing pool of customers and fish into ever smaller shares. If fees are raised, only the larger, corporate vessels will be competitive. The family based Ma & Pa operations will be forced out.

10. Cultural Impacts
The Hawaiian culture values the oceans as an interconnected web of life. Kanaka Maoli understand that when “man plays god”- destroying a natural ecosytem that has taken centuries to grow (like coral reefs), he seldom understands enough about all the levels that the system functions on to rebuild it “as good as new.” Ma`alaea was a special place to Hawaiians. The village site mauka of the Harbor has the largest collections of petroglyphs on Maui (Source Elsbeth Sterling/ W.M Walker survey c. 1920’s). The Name Ma`alaea is believed to be derived from the alae – or red healing iron oxide ocher compound found both on land and in waters offshore near Kapoli spring. The present breakwater covers many alaea beds that once existed. The Harbor itself was built on a foundation of disrespect for Hawaiian culture. The very stones of this ancient village were robbed to create the breakwater, including the huge boulders that formed a prominent heiau – 60′ x 90′ with walls 6′ thick and 8′ high. It is very unlikely that any protocol was followed in this procedure. Ka Poli spring, prized in ancient times as a puna wai in a dry region, was covered by the harbor’s restrooms and turned into a cesspool. Inez Ashdown reported in her 1971 historical account,” Ke Ala Loa” that she was shocked to find the village stones carried away by the original Harbor contractor in 1952 after she had surveyed and marked 40 sites for preservation. It is believed that the Piko stone and Adze sharpening stone in front of Buzz’s Wharf restaurant are remnants of this Village. The harbor was built by a culture that had just won a war against mighty nations-now they declared war on the natural environment and made a plan to take on these mysterious forces. Having little understanding of how these forces operated, their plan failed and now we are only offered more destruction to cover their embarrassment. This was never the way of the Hawaiian culture and several kupuna spoke up at the last hearing on the matter. They stated that the Hawaiian people were not consulted about the harbor plan. The Army Corps response was to end a letter and some complicated reports to all Hawaiian organizations on Maui. Not surprisingly, most did not respond. No gatherings were called. No one asked the people who grew up on Maui’s waters and had no commercial interest in their use what they thought about such a destructive plan. The Office of Hawaiian affairs sent a response signed by a staff person that in spite of the likely impacts to marine life, reef habitat and water quality, they found no cultural impacts. It is unknown if the elected board of OHA ever deliberated on the matter. It would seem unlikely that such a plan would be approved by the majority of OHA Trustees since it needlessly destroys those things that nourish local people. This does not reflect Hawaiian cultural values of malama o ka `aina. Historically, Ma`alaea figures prominently as a landing place for Hawaiian battle fleets and commerce, although unruly weather caused the lee of McGregor Point to be more favored by many. Apollonia Day held Ma`alaea in special regard. Numerous surveys in modern times have indicated that the wide variety of marine life found in the harbor area and surrounding reefs is quite unique in its diversity. This has been reported by researchers from the late 20’s on. In spite of the many pollutants and abuses the waters here keep struggling to renew their life giving ways. We must respect what is here stand united for a plan that creates harbor safety without destroying its resources.


Department of Health’s Safe Drinking Water Branch is currently processing an underground injection permit to authorize the deepening of 2 sewage injection wells at the Ma`alaea Triangle Wastewater Treatment Facility. The permit number is # UM-1954.

DOH is also considering the permit renewal for 2 sewage disposal wells for the Milowai-Ma`alaea Condominium and 2 others for the Kanai a Nalu condo.

If you are concerned about the impacts of these projects or want more information call DOH at 586-4258.

Analysis by David Frankel, Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter

ACTION: Write the DOH and DLNR if you agree. Official comment period on this round of decision making is closed, but letters still have impact. Copies can be sent to the addressees below.

Michael Wilson, Chairperson
Department of Land and Natural Resources
P.O. Box 621
Honolulu, HI 96809

District Engineer
U.S. Army Engineer District, Honolulu
Building 230/CEPOD-ET-PP/Lennan
Fort Shafter, HI 96858-5440
Clean Water Branch
Hawai`i State Department of Health
919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 301
Honolulu, HI 96814-4920