KAHULUI - The state Land Use Commission on Thursday unanimously approved allowing three parties to intervene in the commission's review of whether or not the landowners developing two proposed shopping centers in Kihei have violated land-use conditions placed on the property.
The intervenor status means that the Maui Tomorrow Foundation, South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth and Kihei resident Daniel Kanahele will be allowed to participate in the proceedings before the commission.
The three parties were the main push behind getting the Land Use Commission to revisit approvals for the 88-acre site where Eclipse Development Group has proposed building the Maui Outlets and Piilani Promenade shopping centers.
The groups claim Eclipse has failed to follow some of the 20 conditions the Land Use Commission imposed on former landowner Kaonoulu Ranch in granting a land reclassification from agriculture to urban in 1995.
One of those conditions is a requirement that the property be developed "in substantial compliance with the representations made to the commission." The ranch had proposed a light industrial park for the site.
The Maui Outlets is expected to be a 300,000-square-foot shopping center on a 30-acre site, while Piilani Promenade would be a 400,000-square-foot retail complex on 68 acres - both mauka of the Piilani Highway-Kaonoulu Street intersection.
Eclipse officials have said that plans for the property have always included the possibility of retail stores. A portion of the property also is slated for 250 affordable housing units tied to the master-planned Honua'ula, or Wailea 670, development.
The commission last month granted the three parties' motion for a so-called order to show cause hearing, which will require the landowner to prove it has not violated conditions on the property. They need to "show cause" as to why the land should not be reverted back to agriculture, Commission Chairman Ron Heller said Thursday.
Heller said the hearing will be handled in two stages.
"The first question is, 'Has there been a violation of the commission's existing decision and order,' '' he said, referring to the 20 conditions. "If the answer to that is no, then that's the end, we don't need to go any further. If the answer to that is yes, then the second phase would be, 'What do we do about the fact that there's been a violation?' ''
The show cause hearing has been set for Nov. 1 and 2, said Irene Bowie of Maui Tomorrow.
Jonathan Steiner, attorney for the landowners, opposed the motion to intervene. He argued that the groups' interests are no different from any member of the general public - a threshold for granting intervenor status.
Attorney Tom Pierce, representing Kanahele, Maui Tomorrow and South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth, argued the groups "can provide a unique party position and will be directly affected by the landowners' development."
Pierce also noted in his motion that the groups represent people who will "be harmed by the deleterious effects of urban sprawl, which include increased traffic, loss of community, diminished aesthetics, loss of green space and opportunities for more healthful living."
An attorney representing the county's Department of Planning did not oppose the motion, while an attorney for the state Office of Planning took no position on the motion.
The commissioners voting in favor of the motion to intervene were: Sheldon Biga, Thomas Contrades, Heller, Lance Inouye, Ernest Matsumura and Chad McDonald. Commission members Jaye Makua and Nicholas Teves Jr. were absent and excused.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.