Sierra Club Maui & Allies File Lawsuit to Protect Makena
Sierra Club Maui Group, Maui Tomorrow Foundation, and Ho’oponopono O Makena filed a lawsuit on May 2, 2017 asking the Maui Environmental Court to halt the approval of Makena Resort’s Environmental Assessment. We are extremely worried about the environmental and cultural impacts that Makena Resort’s current proposal would have on the area and are doing everything we can to ensure a proper review be completed in the form of an Environmental Impact Statement.
Through our lawsuit, we are seeking to invalidate the Maui Planning Commission’s acceptance of the Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) and issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact for development of the proposed 47-acre M?kena Resort M-5/M-6/S-7/B-2 project, a 158-unit gated luxury community on the mauka side of Makena-Keone’o’io Road, above Makena Landing. The FEA was approved by a 5-3 vote, with several members of the Commission expressing strong reservations regarding unresolved impacts. Read our full press release here.
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Mahalo to everyone who asked the Planning Commission to reject the Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) for 47 acre Makena Resort project. In all, there were:
45+ people who sent in letters to the Planning Commission asking them to reject the FEA,
30+ people who came out on January 10th to testify against the FEA,
925+ people who signed the petition so far.
The Planning Commission has voted to defer their vote on whether to accept or reject this FEA, so it’s still possible they may accept it in the future. We’ll keep you posted as new developments occur! The Planning Commission will likely be re-hearing this issue within the next 3-6 months.
If you haven’t already signed the petition to the Planning Commission asking for a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement study to be done, click here to add your name.
Sign the Petition & Testify at January 10th Planning Commission Meeting
On Tuesday, January 10th, the Maui Planning Commission will decide whether to approve the Makena Development Resort’s Final Environmental Assessment (FEA), which claims the 47 acre development will have NO significant impact on the area, despite the fact that the site is full of environmental and cultural treasures. In addition, the 47 acre development is very clearly just one small part of a much larger 1,800 development project that is being planned for Makena by the land owners.
We want the Planning Commission to REJECT this Final Environmental Assessment for the 47 acre project and instead require a much more thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be done for the entire 1,800 acres. An EIS will examine 1) exactly how this project will negatively impact the surrounding environment, and 2) how to mitigate these impacts before any final development plans are put in place and construction starts.
2) Email the Planning Commission by Monday the 9th asking them to reject the Final Environmental Assessment and instead require an Environmental Impact Statement. Make sure to say you are writing about item C-1 on the Maui Planning Commission January 10, 2017 agenda. Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Testify in person at the Planning Commission meeting – Tuesday the 10th at 9 am in the Planning Department Conference Room, First Floor – 250 South High Street, Wailuku. They need to hear the voices of Makena residents and how building at Makena Landing will negatively affect families, cultural rights and access, and our environment. Please be RESPECTFUL of the Planning Commissioners. They are volunteers who are giving their time for the community.
Settlement Leads to Protection of Culturally and Environmentally Sensitive Land at Honua’ula
(Joint Press Release of Sierra Club, Maui Unite and Honua’ula Partners, LLC)
After more than three years of extensive negotiations, environmental and cultural groups, Sierra Club and Maui Unite, have entered into a settlement agreement with developer Honua’ula Partners, LLC and the County of Maui. The settlement calls for the protection of over 160 acres of land containing ancient Hawaiian villages, boundary markers and site complexes, as well as rare and endangered plants and animals. The settlement also includes protection of portions of the historic Kanaio-Kalama Road, specific access rights for cultural practitioners and the public, a reduction in the size of the originally proposed eighteen-hole golf course, a deer fence to protect endangered plants, and a conservation easement over the protected lands to be held by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. Another key feature of the agreement is a 116-foot wide buffer along the boundary with Maui Meadows, a one-acre public park located adjacent to the buffer, as well as height limits on certain structures in areas adjacent to the Maui Meadows buffer. Other parts of the agreement call for preserved areas to be turned over to a nonprofit group in the future.
The settlement agreement between the parties stems from a claim filed in 2012 that challenged the environmental impact statement that had been prepared by the developer and accepted by the county in conjunction with a proposed 1,400 unit development in Wailea on a 670-acre property near the south end of Pi’ilani Highway.
The project, which was initially referred to as “Wailea 670,” was approved by the Maui County Council in 2008 for single family and multi-family units, a range of commercial and other mixed uses, and a golf course. The County Council placed a number of conditions on the development, for the protection of culturally and environmentally sensitive areas – including a “native plant preservation area” of not less than 18 acres and not more than 130 acres.
Through their claim, Sierra Club and Maui Unite contended among other things that the developer’s environmental impact statement had failed to adequately address the extent of the cultural and archaeological sites and features located on the property. During the protracted settlement negotiations, the developer agreed to conduct further archaeological work. The archaeologists have confirmed that hundreds of significant archaeological sites or features are located on the property, including ceremonial sites, stepping stone trails, living quarters and farming terraces. Most of these sites are now confirmed for perpetual protection.
The claimants also contended in their lawsuit that the EIS failed to address the impacts associated with the 250 affordable housing units that were required to be constructed off-site, at the proposed Kaonoulu Light Industrial Subdivision located on the mauka side of Pi’ilani Highway in North Kihei, which has been the subject of another land use claim. As a result of the settlement, the claimants have agreed that the developer may seek to obtain approval from the County Council to amend the original Wailea 670 project district ordinance to permit the affordable housing to be located either at the Kaonoulu site or at the Honua’ula site, or a combination of both sites.
Certain parts of the settlement agreement are contingent upon the developer obtaining additional approvals from the Maui Planning Commission and on the developer actually proceeding forward with the project as originally approved.