Perhaps it's the season - with the Fourth of July just behind us - that leads some advocates to enjoy the bombs bursting in air aspect of their language while condemning the behavior of others as "arrogant and counterproductive" (Viewpoint, July 6).
Indeed, holding out the offer of dialogue while at the same time characterizing those with whom you wish to hold a dialogue as acting in an unlawful manner and threatening those who do not agree with you as facing "the political consequences" could be characterized as examples of the "arrogant and counterproductive" behavior we all should seek to avoid.
The discussion about Piilani Promenade and the Maui Outlets retail center proposed for Kihei is a discussion about a retail project that will produce 2,000-plus permanent jobs when completed and hundreds of construction jobs as it is being built.
However, one may think - on one side or the other - that this is a discussion in which no one need create demons, and it is fair to say that more discussion can be held with the community. It is also fair to say that this project is legal and has the necessary approvals to move forward.
It is simply incorrect to say that the project was initially approved with "limited commercial use." In fact, according to an April 13 letter on behalf of Mayor Alan Arakawa, drafted by William Spence, the Maui County planning director, to Council Member Don Couch, quite the opposite is true.
Spence wrote to Couch: "The state Land Use Commission (LUC) reclassified approximately 88 acres from the State Agricultural District to the state Urban District in 1995. . . . At that time, the petitioner proposed a light industrial/commercial subdivision. There were no conditions imposed by the State LUC that restricted use of the property. Whether the property is used for commercial or light industrial purposes, both are 'urban' uses. The state urban designation allowed the county to zone the land accordingly."
The letter went on to say that during the review of the county Change in Zoning application, the Maui County Planning Department proposed five conditions to limit use of the site for business uses. Neither the Maui Planning Commission nor the council supported the restriction "and as such, there are no conditions of zoning that restrict uses within the M-1 Light Industrial District for this project."
In fact, at meetings of the Planning Commission, the state Land Use Commission and the County Council - all opportunities for public comment - the debate over limiting commercial development was rejected.
This project is not sprawl; it will not hurt local businesses. It was discussed in three separate public meetings - not behind closed doors - and it plans to upgrade the intersections on which traffic would flow to levels higher than they now possess.
It is understandable if some organizations that have taken on the role of community watchdog feel the need to contend that while they did not speak up at one of the three forums available, or for the last 15 years, it was not their fault. It must have been some conspiracy that kept them silent.
That is a question I cannot answer. What I can say is that the developers are honorable people with a successful history of creating shopping areas that are well landscaped, attractive to visit, walkable and where neighbors and friends can meet in an enjoyable setting.
I look forward to further community discussions about the project and welcome the ideas that can come from such meetings. But, let's put the fireworks away and talk story Maui-style. After all, at the end of the day we all live on the same island and we all want the best for what we are blessed to call home.
* Charlie Jencks is a liaison for Eclipse Development Group, the developer of the Maui Outlets and Piilani Promenade projects.