Coalition’s agenda may not be shared by community

I was appalled to see Alexander & Baldwin asked to donate 15 percent, or 5,000 acres, of their Central Maui lands for “Maui to plan its own future” (The Maui News, April 25). As proposed, it is not about Maui but members of a coalition with an agenda that may not be shared by the Maui community.

A&B has voluntarily designated 27K of their lands as Important Agricultural Lands, meaning there is no other use than agriculture for that land. It seems unreasonable to ask more of a landowner. I do not want someone coming on my land and telling me how to farm, so why should we agree that it is OK to do so on A&B lands?

Housing is an issue, but it is also a slippery slope. Has this group supported other affordable housing efforts on Maui? Too often we have seen abuse as people build homes with promise to do agriculture on the land. Two coconut trees and a mango tree do not constitute agriculture.

Revenue sources need to be identified along with a balance sheet of how expenses will be paid. Agriculture is fortunate to have reduced property taxes and water rates. But it is a privilege based on agriculture’s production of goods that enter the market. The county and state have a right to expect their investment back through other taxes and the needle on local ag production must move.

I do not believe that the proposal is in the interest of Maui’s agriculture and community.

Heidi Watanabe