Press Release: Settlement Announced Over Future of Mākena Region

July 11, 2017


Maui Community Groups Reach Settlement Over Future of Mākena Region

Impacts of Luxury Development on Environment and Cultural Practices Significantly Reduced

Community groups and the owner of Makena Resort (ATC Makena) have reached an agreement regarding the future of the Mākena region. The agreement includes reducing density throughout the entire Mākena resort lands as well as the makai parcels, preservation of on-street public beach parking around Makena Landing, affordable housing within the Mākena area, protection of cultural sites and historic mauka-makai trails, an independent cultural manager and the establishment and perpetual funding of a community benefit fund, among other provisions.

“This settlement is a win-win because it protects the environment and cultural sites of Mākena, but also supports the needs of Maui’s local families,” said Adriane Raff Corwin, Coordinator of Sierra Club Maui Group. “Our negotiations will result in at least 60 units of housing, affordable in perpetuity and priced at or below median income levels, being built on Makena resort land. We have asked that first priority for these homes be given to families with historical ties to the Mākena area, giving kamaʻaina a chance to return to the land.”

Hoʻoponopono O Mākena, Sierra Club of Hawaii – Maui Group, and Maui Tomorrow Foundation filed suit in the Environmental Court in early May challenging the Maui Planning Commission’s Finding of No Significant Impact for ATC Makena’s 47-acre project surrounding Makena Landing. The groups were represented by attorney Lance D. Collins. A request to stay county proceedings was granted by Environmental Court Judge Joseph E. Cardoza. Shortly thereafter, the judge asked that parties begin meeting to attempt to negotiate a resolution of the community’s concerns. The lengthy, intensive negotiations were aided by both Circuit Court Judge Peter T. Cahill and retired Circuit Court Judge Shackley Raffetto.

“We need the Mākena Landing area to be a place where local families feel welcome,” said Ashford DeLima, a member of a long time Mākena family, and President of Hoʻoponopono O Mākena. “This agreement protects our past, like our cultural sites and historic trails, while it provides for the future by expanding the shoreline park and parking. We worked hard to have a guarantee that cultural access and cultural education will not be confined to a few little sites on this property. Working through an onsite cultural manager, cultural use will be a real part of the land. Our goal is for local families to learn from this land for generations to come.”

“The `āina of Mākena needed a voice,” said Albert Perez, Executive Director of Maui Tomorrow Foundation. “Maui’s people were being pushed out, but the community stepped up to the plate and pushed back. We have been working constantly over the last two months to represent the public’s interests and preserve what is best about Mākena. Our history of fighting for this special place goes back almost 40 years. The first success of this effort was the creation of Mākena State Park at Oneloa (Big Beach). Now the future of Mākena, which has been unclear for decades, has a measure of certainty. As a community, we will need to remain vigilant, but this is a start.”

Hoʻoponopono O Mākena is an organization that was formed to preserve and protect cultural and historic sites in Mākena, including heiau, rock structures, shrines, ancient walls, pathways, and roads. The group’s mission is “to make things right” in Mākena; they are interested in caring for the many historic sites in Mākena with any other interested community members.

The Maui Tomorrow Foundation is an environmental advocacy organization serving as a watchdog for enforcement of Hawaii’s environmental and land use laws. For more information, please visit

The Sierra Club Maui Group, part of the Sierra Club of Hawai’i, is one of the oldest and most effective grassroots environmental organizations in the islands. Founded in 1976, we currently have thousands of members and supporters volunteering to help people better explore, enjoy, and protect Hawaiʻi’s unique environment and wildlife.