WAILUKU - A Maui County Council committee hopes by early next week to complete final revisions to maps that will guide future growth and development on the island over the next two decades.
After meeting on the plans four days this week, General Plan Committee Chairwoman Gladys Baisa strongly urged committee members to work through two more full days Monday and Wednesday to finish deliberations.
The council is working toward a Dec. 31 deadline - which was extended three times in as many years - to complete the Maui Island Plan.
"If we do not complete our work, we are going to really mess up our timetable, and it'll be highly unlikely that we can complete our work this year," she said at Thursday's meeting. "We've all worked very, very hard to get to this point. We do want to wrap this up this year so that everybody that is waiting for the new Maui Island Plan will be able to plan and go ahead."
Before recessing the meeting until 9 a.m. Monday, committee members agreed Thursday to remove green beltways and scenic corridors from the proposed maps, which will become regulatory once the plan is enacted.
Council Member Mike White had pushed for two green beltways that would create buffers along highways in Upcountry and West Maui in an effort to preserve open space.
The designation would prohibit development in those buffer zones, which raised legal concerns over potential lawsuits from existing landowners.
The committee had previously voted to include the corridors on the maps, while White's proposal of a third beltway to run from Huelo through Hana to Ulupalakua never gained enough support.
White made a motion Thursday to essentially limit the maps to only "directed growth boundaries," meaning the beltways, parks and sensitive land designations would be removed.
White said it was a tough decision, but that the council doesn't have the authority to enforce those other designations through the general plan maps.
"I feel strongly that there are a lot of things that we've got to protect," White said. "But I've surrendered to the legal minds and others that feel that there is a process that we must follow and there are building blocks that we need to put into place before we can move ahead with the kinds of moves that I feel are important for us to preserve our scenic corridors."
He said afterward that he intends to propose legislation to create those "building blocks."
Also on Thursday, the committee attempted to again reverse itself on whether 390 acres near Makena Resort's golf course should be included within South Maui's growth boundaries.
The committee had voted in June to include the acreage after the same proposal had stalled previously.
The Makena Resort already holds state- and county-level approvals to develop on most of the property's 1,800 acres. Developer Stanford Carr of ATC Makena Holdings, which owns the resort, has said the company has not determined what will be designed or built on the added acreage, other than to say that any development would be "very rural and rustic in nature, very low density."
Council Member Don Couch made the motion Thursday to try to remove the 390 acres from the map, saying he wanted to listen to the community.
"The prior owner to all of Makena went through years of zoning and whatnot, and left this (piece) out. That person did not feel it was necessary to use this," Couch said. "Between now and 20 years from now, it doesn't appear even the rest of Makena is going to come close (to being developed), so I'd like to listen to the community's wishes and keep that boundary back to the old boundary. And, if by some miracle in 10, 15 years the developer is able to do what he has to do to do the rest of Makena, it can be revisited."
With Council Chairman Danny Mateo excused, the vote on the motion was split, and ultimately failed, meaning the 390 acres are still included in the growth boundary.
Couch and Council Members Bob Carroll, Elle Cochran and Riki Hokama voted in favor, while Council Members Mike Victorino, Mike White, Joe Pontanilla and Baisa voted against it.
The committee will resume Monday's meeting with ongoing discussions about the state's proposed development of 939 acres of state land in Pulehunui.
The plan calls for state land to be developed both privately and publicly on several parcels in Puunene off both sides of Mokulele Highway near the old Puunene airport and National Guard Armory.
The master plan calls for light industrial, business and commercial activities along Mokulele Highway as well as a new prison.
Committee members appeared split Thursday on whether or not to include the project area.
Some members cited concerns about having development on both sides of the highway and wanting a guarantee from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands that the county would be paid for years of unpaid property taxes owed on homesteads.
Those in favor argued that allowing the state to generate revenue from the various developments would benefit taxpayers.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.