PUUNENE - A developer is moving ahead with plans to build an 86-acre, $20 million heavy industrial subdivision near the old Puunene Airport.
CMBY 2011 Investment has finished a draft environmental assessment, and last week the developer's representatives sought comment on the proposed project from members of the Maui Planning Commission.
Commission members sought and received reassurances that the project would not foul groundwater with its private wastewater systems. They also urged the property owner to install and use solar and wind power systems and to provide security for the property.
Panel members were told that one of the foreseen uses of the heavy industrial site would be for a construction and demolition debris landfill. Such a landfill in Maalaea has only about a two-year life span, and a new facility is needed by the island's construction industry, they were told.
Irene Bowie, executive director of the Maui Tomorrow Foundation, suggested that the environmental study address the possibility of air pollution and its effects on Maui Humane Society's nearby animal shelter and other potential development in the area.
The commission's comments will be used by CMBY to draft a final environmental assessment for the proposed Pu'unene Heavy Industrial Subdivision. The commission is the approving authority for the document.
The project would be located off Mokulele Highway, roughly midway between Kahului and north Kihei. The site would be accessed via the highway and Kamaaina Road. Plans call for subdividing the property to create 28 lots, 9 acres for a drainage retention basin and 11 acres for an internal roadway system.
The property is vacant agricultural land, except for a 2-acre radio antenna site. That facility's lease expires Dec. 31, 2013, and won't be renewed, commission members were told. The site is within the proposed urban-growth boundaries in the draft Maui Island Plan.
According to the draft environmental assessment, Maui island has about 489 acres zoned for "M-2" heavy industrial use, with approximately 442 acres zoned in Central Maui for such use.
However, "much of this heavy industrial zoned land has already been built upon or is being used as work or storage yards," the document says. A small amount of heavy industrial land is available, but it is unsuitable for use because it's located near homes and businesses.
"There has not been any purely heavy industrial development in Central Maui for over a decade," the draft assessment says.
The study says no residential or commercial development is near the proposed heavy industrial subdivision site, which is near the Central Maui baseyard and the Hawaiian Cement quarry.
"The proposed project site is ideally situated for heavy industrial use and its centralized location provides convenient access to Kahului Harbor and the Kahului Airport," the environmental assessment says.
The development will need a state land use district boundary amendment from agricultural to urban from the state Land Use Commission and a community plan amendment
and change of zoning from agricultural to heavy industrial from the Maui County Council.
The project is seeking M-2 heavy industrial zoning from the county, but the environmental assessment notes that a bill has been introduced to
the County Council to create a new M-3 industrial zoning. (The council's Planning Committee is scheduled to review the bill at a meeting scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today in the eighth-floor Council Chambers.)
The developer's draft environmental assessment says that if the county creates M-3 zoning, then the project would amend its land use request to seek that new zoning.
New permitted uses in that zoning would include:
* Energy systems, power plants, substations and major utility facilities.
* Heavy equipment storage, servicing and sales.
* Landfill, solid waste processing and disposal.
* Biofuel product manufacturing or wholesale storage of biofuels.
* Recycling processing facilities.
The project's buildout will depend on market conditions, the document says.
"Given the unstable and unpredictable behavior of the global economy and economic effects, the actual number and size of the subdivision lots, and the time frame for filing an application for subdivision approval will be heavily influenced by prevailing market conditions at the time CMBY is ready to proceed with development," it says.
Subdivision owners will be responsible for the development of their own lots. The development's water and wastewater systems would be privately owned, with the sewage handled with an enhanced septic tank and a central leach field. Planning commission members were told that the state Department of Health would need to review and approve the water and wastewater systems.
The project's land use and subdivision approval process is estimated to take four to five years, with construction expected to begin in 2016. The project is expected to generate 65 direct and indirect jobs during construction and 142 jobs after it's completed in 10 years.
During World War II, the project site was part of the Puunene Naval Air Station, which was used by the military. In more recent times, it was used for hog farming and scrap metal storage. Those uses were discontinued in 2007.
Public comments on the draft environmental assessment are due July 9. The draft can be found online at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/Environmental_Notice/Archives/2010s/2012-06-08.pdf.
Comments should be sent to:
* CMBY 2011 Investment LLC, P.O. Box 220, Kihei 96793; Contact: Blanca Lafolette, 874-5263.
* The Maui Planning Commission, c/o Maui Planning Department, 250 S. High St., Wailuku 96793; Contact: Kurt Wollenhaupt, 270-8205.
* Chris Hart & Partners, 115 N. Market St., Wailuku 96793; Contact: Glenn Tadaki, 242-1955.
* Brian Perry can be reached at email@example.com.