LUC approves Kihei R&T park expansion plan

The state Land Use Commission approved this week an expansion of the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei.

In a meeting Thursday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, the commission voted to change the designation of 253 acres from agricultural to urban. Now, the project by Maui R&T Partners needs to get rezoning and a community plan amendment from Maui County.

The development is tentatively scheduled for a Dec. 10 hearing before the Maui Planning Commission, which will make a recommendation on the project’s proposed rezoning and community plan amendment to the Maui County Council, according to county planner Kurt Wollenhaupt.

As detailed in its environmental impact statement, project plans call for build-out in two 10-year phases. The development would add a mixed-use village center, a mix of single-family and multifamily residences of as much as 1,250 units, a business hotel, an expansion of “knowledge-industry lots” and open space and park areas.

Maui R&T Partners is a partnership of Pacific Rim Land and Woodridge Capital Partners.

The concept of the Maui Research & Technology Park began in the 1980s with private and public sector leaders aiming to broaden the island’s economy away from tourism, sugar and pineapple by encouraging the high technology industry.

So far, only 40 acres of the park’s 414 acres have been developed on land mauka of Piilani Highway and the Elleair Maui Golf Club. More than two dozen companies with 400 employees have been established at the park, with businesses including Boeing, the Maui High Performance Computing Center and the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory.

Development at the high-tech park has fallen short of what was originally conceived. Challenges for new tenants include a requirement of a minimum 2-acre lot and the narrow scope of acceptable research and technology uses. Both restrictions would be updated, according to the project’s updated master plan.

The residential units would be for employees at the high-tech park.

In December 2011, Maui County Council members supported the park’s updated plans when they included them in the Kihei-Makena section of the Maui Island Plan. That included the addition of 1,250 residential units.

The park’s proposed mixed-use village center would be 58 acres with a mixing of housing, offices, civic facilities, live-work areas and parks. Civic uses could include a private or charter school campus.

* Brian Perry can be reached at

CORRECTION: CMBY Investment, which received approval for a state district boundary amendment from the state Land Use Commission for a heavy industrial subdivision in Puunene on Thursday, will not be pursing a construction and debris landfill.

A story Saturday on Page A4 incorrectly noted the status of the landfill in the 86-acre project that received its agricultural to urban amendment.

Blanca Lafolette, project coordinator with Pacific Rim Land, said that CMBY in an Oct. 10 filing with the LUC said that it will not use the site for a landfill, though it is a permitted use, unless the company gets approval from the commission first.

In the filing, CMBY also said that the site may be used for solid waste processing and disposal, which is a permitted use, she said.

The company’s environmental assessment had stated the possibility of establishing a construction and demolition landfill within the proposed subdivision, “but after due diligence to assess the feasibility it was decided not to proceed,” she said.

The Maui News apologizes for the error.