Beach house demolition funds OK’d

WAILUKU – The Maui County Council gave final approval Friday to spend $50,000 for demolition work on the infamous Montana Beach house in Paia.

With the approval, Maui County can go ahead with its contract with Pacific Concrete Cutting & Coring. The contractor will demolish and remove the home on the Paia town side of Baldwin Beach Park.

County officials have said work is expected to begin early next year. The contractor has 180 days to complete the work once all the permits are executed. The company will be allowed to salvage any of the materials.

The work will end the more than decadelong saga of the once luxurious oceanfront home that had been mired in a legal tangle over the granting and later rescinding of a special management area permit.

In 2008, the county took ownership of the property in a $4.1 million settlement. Then for years, the county was tied up trying to decide what to do with the 2,500-square-foot structure that was built with luxurious features and materials.

There were proposals to use the house as a community center, to move the house and, later, to try to sell some of the luxurious pieces of the house as part of its demolition.

Last year, the council authorized disposal of the Montana Beach structure while retaining ownership of the land.

In other action Friday:

* Council members approved a bill on second and final reading to amend part of the County Code relating to apartment districts, by establishing accessory uses, consolidating and clarifying development standards, deleting the requirement of conditional permits for townhouses and providing the planning director with rule-making authority.

* Councilors gave final approval to a bill relating to the two-family (duplex) district, by establishing two zoning districts and accessory uses, consolidating and clarifying development standards, and providing the planning director with rule-making authority.

* Council members passed on final reading a bill to establish a Public Works Commission. With the commission, the county will consolidate and eliminate the following panels: Traffic Safety Council; Commission on Naming Streets, Parks and Facilities; Subdivision Engineering Standards Committee; and Maui County Outdoor Lighting Standards Committee.

* Councilors gave final approval to a bill to eliminate the Commission on Culture and the Arts. County administration has said the commission is no longer essential to the purpose for which it was formed. The county spends nearly $1 million a year on the arts, culture, arts facilities, festivals and events.

* Council members passed on final reading a bill to authorize the use of $73,378 to settle two claims from the county’s vehicle insurance carrier. Two Maui Police Department vehicles were involved in separate incidents, and both vehicles were deemed irreparable. The combined settlement amount was based on the salvage value of the vehicles, although an official from the department said that the amount would not be sufficient to replace both vehicles and funds from the department’s operating budget would be used to supplement the replacement cost, according to council documents.

* Councilors adopted a resolution authorizing a park assessment agreement among the county, the Department of Parks and Recreation and developers of the Moana Estates Subdivision and the Ke Alii Ocean Villas for the dedication of approximately 3.7 acres in Kihei for park and playground purposes.

* Council members gave initial approval to a bill granting a request from Amy Wisthoff-Martin and Dan Martin for a conditional permit through March 31, 2018, to host and conduct weddings at an approved bed-and-breakfast home known as Ho’oilo House at 138 Awaiku St. in Lahaina. The property is in the county agricultural district. The bill advances to second and final reading.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at