WAILUKU - In one of his last decisions before retiring, 2nd Circuit Judge Joel August voided the final environmental impact statement for Jesse Spencer's Ohana Kai affordable housing project at Maalaea.
Because the lawyers are disagreeing about some of the language in the court order, it hasn't been signed yet, but the three main points are not in dispute. The judge determined that:
The FEIS was inadequate in addressing the proposed injection wells for the on-site sewage treatment plant.
The proposed Ohana Kai affordable housing project would be located on this site near Maalaea. In this photograph, taken on a weekday afternoon, traffic passes along Honoapiilani Highway. The environmental impact statement for the project has been voided.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The study did not adequately address questions related to anticipated increases in salinity as the three wells are pumped more.
Therefore, the FEIS as accepted by the Department of Housing and Human Concerns is void.
In granting partial summary judgment to the Ma'alaea Community Association and Maui Tomorrow Foundation Inc., August found that the final statement did not adequately disclose and describe all identifiable environmental impacts or respond satisfactorily to comments made on the statement; and, therefore, the project is not to be implemented in any form until an amended or supplemental EIS remedies the deficiencies.
The county and the Land Use Commission took no position on the complaint, which was against Spencer's MVI LLC development company.
Spencer proposes to develop a 1,110-unit affordable housing subdivision on 257 acres above Maalaea. He and supporters have said the project would generate badly needed jobs and homes for working families. But opponents have raised concerns about the project's location and impacts on traffic and Maalaea Bay.
* Harry Eagar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.