Wailea 670/Honua’ula EIS

In depth discussion of Wailea 670 EIS flaws. 

A FEW QUICK POINTS ABOUT THE WAILEA 670 EIS:

Can Wailea 670 provide jobs, housing and meaningful preservation of unique natural and cultural resources?

Yes: but not with the plan proposed in the Final EIS.

As usual, the EIS is full of misrepresentations and avoidance of discussing real impacts to local residents.

A professional traffic engineer sent her own comments: THE TRAFFIC IMPACTS ARE HUGE!

The Final EIS is not available at any government website, so no one can read it.

What may concern folks:

TRAFFIC:

County and state signed off on a “traffic management plan” for construction phase but the EIS admits that peak hour loads will still be 380 trips to the site! An independent traffic engineer pointed out that the project’s traffic studies avoid discussion of cumulative impacts of the project’s more than 350 vehicle trips/hour on northbound Piilani Hwy throughout Kihei. The EIS only discusses these vehicles as far as the Kilohana/Piilani intersection, avoiding any discussion of impacts to other intersections!

NOISE: Construction noise onsite is described as “limited to daylight hours’ (7am to 6pm M-F) and “short-lived.” The definition of “short-lived “ is not given since the project description expects buildout to span 20 years. It is mentioned that the noise levels will need to comply with DOH standards, but the monitoring mechanism, citizen complaint protocols to enforce those standards are not discussed in the FEIS. In general, the FEIS gives very little discussion to the fact that Maui Meadows residents will live adjacent to a construction zone for many years.

BLASTING PIILANI HWY:

The first phase of the project would be widening and extension of Piilani Hwy to 4 lanes past Kilohana st. The impacts of this action on Maui Meadows (MM) residents along Akala St. are minimized. The FEIS does say the project is “considering” using chemical demolition agents, which do not produce noise or vibrations. Sound attenuating walls are being considered for some sections of the Piilani Hwy widening. If the cost of the wall is not more than $35,000/ residence it is considered, under DOT guidelines, “reasonable.” The FEIS claims that by 2022 Piilani Hwy noise levels will rise to unacceptable levels for 13 existing houses in Maui Meadows along Piilani, even of there is no widening or building of Wailea 670? If both projects are built the unacceptable noise levels will affect 16 houses. Is this true? Residents should weigh in.

MAUI MEADOWS-WAILEA 670 BUFFER:

The buffer between MM and W670 is a 50 ft wide green planted area. It is described as a 100 ft buffer because “backyard setbacks” of the multifamily and single family housing proposed adjacent to the 50 ft wide strip are being “counted” towards the 100 ft. MM residents have consistently asked for 100 ft or more. 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING:

Onsite affordable housing will all be condos: 450 units on parcels totaling 42 acres.

Offsite affordable housing 250 rental apartments on 13 acres is proposed for the back lot of the Piilani Mega Mall site off the future Kaonoulu St. extension.This housing cannot be legally built in this location without modifications of the project’s State Land Use Commission application and conditions, according to a recent letter from the State Office of Planning. The impacts of this separate subdivision in Kaonoulu are not discussed in the Final EIS.

LACK OF PRESERVATION: The FEIS says the 130 acre preserve proposed by Fish and Wildlife scientists cannot be designed into the project. This preserve would be a wonderful amenity for the residents of Wailea and Maui Meadows..a great place to walk the dog, hike and enjoy the beauties of nature. It already has many natural trails and an historic road. There are over 100 cultural sites, and groves of native Wiliwili trees and other fascinating native plants.

The current W670 site plan proposed most of this rugged lava flow area be turned into upscale Single Family housing. Could this single family housing be accommodated outside the preserve area? From the statistics it looks like the 504 SF units proposed will cover 274 acres. If each unit was on a .33 ac lot instead of a .5 acre lot, over 100 acres could be available for preservation. Nothing in the huge EIS even considers this option. The entire affordable units proposed on site: 450 condos are compacted onto only 42 acres! WE NEED AN ALTERNATIVE PLAN for the southern dryland forest habitat.

CULTURAL SITES:

DOZENS OF UNDOCUMENTED CULTURAL SITES ARE IN THE CONSTRUCTION IMPACT ZONE OF W670. For over a decade independent cultural groups have been saying that Wailea 670 has more cultural sites that have been recorded.

Kihei-Makena Community Plan and State Historic Preservation laws require that a project record all sites on a property prior to development activities, but who is insisting that these laws be followed?. Citizens have been proven RIGHT!

In 1988 W670 had NO recorded sites. In 2000 it had 24. In 2001 it had 28.In 2008 it had 40 and citizen research has photographed and documented at least an additional 40 sites or more in plain view that have never been recorded. Unrecorded sites receive little respect during the development process unless a burial is uncovered. Maui Cultural Lands, Maui Tomorrow and other citizen groups have urged State historic preservation staff to require a full site visit with citizen researchers to record the additional sites and revise the project’s archaeological survey. The groups are also asking that the project be reviewed by the County Cultural Resources Commission (CRC) BEFORE the EIS is accepted. The CRC last reviewed this project in 2001!

EIS: