As candidate for the Upcountry council seat, I completely support the Kihei "mega-mall." It would encourage tourist spending, infrastructure development, provide jobs and housing, and be an excellent terminus for the proposed Upcountry road. It would provide a consolidated location for world-class retailers and local businesses next to a world-class resort and technology area. If not there, where?
Responding to an inquiry from Council Member Don Couch, the Planning Department indicated that the parcel's current designation of light industrial zoning does allow retail development. That is good enough for me.
We cannot continue to second-guess administration legal opinions. That's why we lost the Superferry - a great idea which I also supported.
Often, these spurious lawsuits from the usual environmental (anti-development) groups are the result of the inability of both the state Legislature and the council to write laws clearly. Unclear laws invite lawsuits.
Developers already risk their investment if they misread the market. The Wailea hotel bankruptcies illustrated that.
They should not have to be uncertain of the legal status of their projects, especially after they ask for guidance from our elected officials. Clear and simple laws setting policies, not specifics, would be one of my council priorities.