The Maui News' June 21 article on South Maui's proposed Piilani Promenade and Maui Outlets shopping centers included a quote from Eclipse Development Group's liaison, Charlie Jencks, who said "that the approved zoning for the property allows for mixed
uses, including commercial." That's a half truth at best. The project was approved by the state Land Use Commission in 1995, but as the 123-lot Kaonoulu Industrial Park with limited commercial use.
Jencks said, "The plan is a policy document that indicates generally where a community wants to go, and it changes over time." Maybe the developer's ideas have changed, but South Mauians, denied a public hearing for a now completely commercial and large-scale project, deserve an opportunity to express their concerns.
The county administration and the developer's agent tell us that we should have spoken up when we supposedly had the chance. These so-called opportunities to be heard occurred 17 years ago, when a light industrial park was proposed. The property owners, have, for the last 15 years, filed annual reports with the LUC that make no mention that the project has changed completely. These annual reports also fail to note that another condition of zoning - requiring a frontage road and connector roads for the project - has been completely ignored.
This mega-mall project is flawed in so many ways: It brings Mainland sprawl, doesn't comply with the law, was conceived behind closed doors, will generate tremendous traffic on a highway already being asked to do too much, and it will harm local businesses.
Simply stating that the community will benefit from the positive things the mega-malls will bring while refusing to engage in a community conversation is arrogant and counterproductive. Our state and county laws provide citizens a voice in the planning process and that voice has been denied. It's time for lawful processes to be followed and for South Maui to be given a long-overdue opportunity to weigh in on the biggest project to affect Kihei in decades.
The Arakawa administration and Eclipse Development Group must realize that the outcry against this project is growing stronger by the day. We encourage community members to view the LUC order recorded against the property and the Kihei-Makena Community Plan - they're available at www.mauitomorrow.org. Then let your elected officials know that it's time for them to step up or face the political consequences of siding with an out-of-state developer against the will of the people and the law of the land.
* Irene Bowie is the executive director of Maui Tomorrow Foundation.