Pacific Business News
March 1, 2002 edition
Makena Resort expansion hits snag with Maui County Council
The decision by the Maui County Council last week to delay a vote on the Makena Resort Corp. project likely means the project will be on hold until summer.
The full council was scheduled to vote on a proposed zoning change that would allow development of homes, hotel rooms and commercial retail to proceed on land next to the Maui Prince Hotel and apparently had the five votes needed for passage.
However, before last week’s scheduled vote, the Maui County Ethics Commission ruled Councilman Mike Molina, one of the project supporters, had a conflict of interest because his family owned land near the project and its value could be enhanced by the development.
Molina contested the ruling and said he would seek a second opinion, but didn’t vote. The council sent the measure back to the Land Use Committee, which earlier sent the zoning request to the full council.
Veteran council observers say it’s highly unlikely the committee will take up the Makena issue again before June because budget hearings are scheduled to run through May.
When the committee does re-examine the proposed expansion, it is likely to remain a political hot potato, as committee Chairman Alan Arakawa is challenging incumbent Mayor James “Kimo” Apana and any consideration of the Makena proposals and the equally controversial Wailea 670 luxury expansion in south Maui, would be certain to bring to the forefront issues related to both projects in the months leading to the September primary and November general elections.
Developments split community
The Wailea 670 project, on the Land Use Committee agenda for Feb. 11, was deferred at the request of the developers.
Proponents of the two projects say that the two neighboring large-scale developments will boost the tax base, provide jobs, improve the infrastructure and bring new capital investment to south Maui.
Supporters say developers already have spent more than $30 million on wastewater treatment, roads, and water improvements.
Opponents assert neither project is in the long-term best interest of the community; that both fail to address water or traffic problems; and that they grant blanket zoning entitlements worth billions of dollars to developers and Realtors without providing commensurate benefits to Maui residents.
Susan Halas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. —