Draft EIS released for Pi‘ilani Promenade

A draft environmental impact statement has been released for the Pi’ilani Promenade mixed-use project in north Kihei, a project planned to have 226 apartment units along with light industrial, business and commercial uses.

Plans call for the project to be on about 75 acres mauka of the intersection of Kaonoulu Road and Piilani Highway. It is bordered by the Kihei Commercial Center to the north, Kulanihakoi Gulch to the south, Piilani Highway to the west and ranch land to the east.

Plans include a 2-acre park, land for a Maui Electric Co. substation, a 1 million-gallon water tank for project and South Maui use, pedestrian and bicycle pathways, road-widening lots and improvements to the intersection of Piilani Highway at Kaonoulu Street. Initial construction is expected to be completed in 2018.

Comments on the draft EIS will be accepted until Oct. 7.

Pi’ilani Promenade is a scaled-back version of plans made public several years ago by former developer Eclipse Development Group. The California-based company envisioned an outlet center and shopping mall with a combined 700,000 square feet. Also proposed was Honua’ula Partners’ 250 affordable housing units, which had been a requirement for Honua’ula’s master-planned luxury golf community proposed beyond the end of Piilani Highway.

The previous plans outraged and surprised some community members, leading to a challenge from interveners Maui Tomorrow Foundation, South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth and Kihei resident Daniel Kanahele.

The group prevailed last year when the state Land Use Commission ruled that the shopping malls didn’t meet conditions imposed on the land in 1995 when the commission reclassified it from agricultural to urban.

No longer is Honua’ula’s housing tied to the current project and gone are the large shopping center proposals. Eclipse is no longer with the project. Pi’ilani Promenade’s owner, Sarofim Realty Advisors of Dallas, is handling public outreach.

Before the commission could issue a formal decision and order on the matter, the developers requested time to change their plans. The LUC granted the request, which includes allowing time for the developers to prepare an environmental impact statement.

As a condition of allowing more time to amend the project, the LUC ordered that no development or work would be allowed.

According to the draft EIS, Sarofim expects to submit its motion amending its plans to the LUC in 2015.

Although plans have been scaled back, some South Maui community members still expressed skepticism at a community meeting in November. They said they were concerned about traffic, the size of proposed retail stores and that the 1 million-gallon water tank would be dedicated to the county, but still use county water supplies.

Developers have said traffic studies show a 25 percent reduction in vehicle traffic with the new project plan versus the old proposal.

According to a traffic impact study in the draft EIS, the project would need several improvements at the intersection of Piilani Highway at Kaonoulu Street. That would serve as the access way to the project.

The improvements would be:

* Modify the eastbound approach to provide one left-turn lane, one through lane and one right-turn lane.

* Provide two southbound to eastbound left-turn lanes.

* Provide two left-turn lanes, one through lane and one right-turn lane along the westbound approach.

The project would provide an access easement mauka and north of the project site to allow future access and connectivity to Ohukai Road. Project representatives have said the easement could initially be used for pedestrian and bicycle accessibility to the project via Ohukai.

Landowners would like to allow a bike and pedestrian pathway from and to the new Kihei high school that would not encroach on private land, representatives have also said.

The draft EIS says that no federally listed endangered or threatened native plants have been encountered on the site, along with no Hawaiian bats and native birds. The project would have no significant effects on cultural resources, beliefs or practices, the study said.

Owners anticipate that the project would be constructed in two phases, as market conditions warrant.

Phase one is the Pi’ilani Promenade North development, and it would include the northern developable lot with 100,000 square feet of business commercial uses, 226 rental apartments and 57,558 square feet of light industrial use.

Representatives have said that out of the estimated 226 housing units, approximately 25 percent would be affordably priced.

Phase one includes construction of the future Kihei-Upcountry highway and improving the Kaonoulu and Piilani Highway intersection. It also calls for construction of the 1 million-gallon water tank, the irrigation well with pump and related utility and offsite easements.

Phase two would include the development of the two southern parcels, which consist of 430,000 square feet of business-commercial areas.

It is expected that all necessary entitlements to implement the project would be obtained by early 2016, the draft EIS said. The target for construction completion is in 2018.

Comments should be submitted to:

* The approving agency. Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism, Land Use Commission, P.O. Box 2359, Honolulu 96804-2359. Contact – Daniel Orodenker, (808) 587-3822.

* The consultant. Chris Hart and Partners Inc., 115 N. Market St., Wailuku 96793. Contact – Jordan Hart, 242-1955.

* Applicant. Pi’ilani Promenade North LLC and Pi’ilani Promenade South LLC, c/o Sarofim Realty Advisors, 8115 Preston Road, Suite 400, Dallas, Texas 75225. Contact – Robert Poynor, (214) 692-4227.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at