LUC rejects land reclassification for Kahoma affordable housing

The state Land Use Commission has adopted a decision and order denying a state land use reclassification for the proposed 68-lot Kahoma affordable housing project in West Maui.

The panel took the action Thursday at the Airport Conference Center near the Honolulu International Airport.

The commission’s official denial follows a Dec. 5 vote on Maui when project developer West Maui Land Co. received four votes in favor of the project, two short of the six required for a needed land reclassification of 16.7 acres from agricultural to urban.

The panel’s vote came despite the project having the support of the county Department of Planning and the state Office of Planning. Opposition came from interveners Lahaina resident Michele Lincoln, who lives near the project site, and Routh Bolomet of Oahu. They maintained that the vacant land mauka of Honoapiilani Highway and adjacent to the Kahoma Stream flood control channel should remain in its agricultural designation and stay as an open area.

In 2011, the Maui County Council approved the Kahoma project as a fast-track affordable housing development. The homes would have been sold to families with incomes up to 160 percent of median income.

West Maui Land officials have said that they would likely file a motion for reconsideration with the Land Use Commission. So far, the developers have spent $600,000 for environmental studies, fees, attorneys and consultants.