DLNR planning business park in Pulehunui

285 acre development proposed for old sugar lands near old airport

A 285-acre business park is being proposed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on former sugar lands in Pulehunui.

The park would allow for light industrial, commercial, government and nonprofit use, according to the project’s environmental impact state preparation notice, published in the March 8 edition of “The Environmental Notice.”

The proposed location is near the site of the Old Puunene Airport off of Mokulele Highway, next to the Army National Guard Armory and the Maui Raceway Park.

Alexander & Baldwin had been leasing the 285 acres from the state to cultivate sugar, A&B spokesman Darren Pai said. Now that Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has shut down sugar production, parent company A&B no longer needs to lease the land.

With the land fully back in state hands, the department plans to develop the park “to generate long-term lease revenues to support DLNR’s various programs, including conservation, forestry and wildlife programs and state parks, among others,” according to the preparation notice. Many department programs are taxpayer funded.

“The proposed DLNR Business Park provides one option for shifting the funding sources for the foregoing programs from the taxpaying public to a business model-based revenue source,” the notice said. “DLNR has other commercial, revenue-generating lands on Oahu and Hawaii island.”

The proposal calls for dividing the property into lots of various sizes: 18 small lots of half an acre to less than 1 acre, 25 medium lots of 1 acre to less than 3 acres and 33 large lots of 3 to 5 acres. About 5.5 acres of land is set aside for the state Department of Agriculture for a livestock quarantine and staging facility and other related purposes. However, the two departments are working together to find an alternative location for the facility so the land can go back to the DLNR, according to the notice.

Internal roadways, bike paths, open space and drainage networks will be developed as part of the park. Vehicles could access the park through the existing Kamaaina Road, a secondary access off South Firebreak Road and a proposed access off Mokulele Highway.

More details on expected land usage and design will be published in the upcoming draft environmental impact statement.

The department believes the proposed business park would “meet the demand for light industrial space,” according to the notice. Development of the project site is permitted under the Maui Island Plan.

However, the park will need to develop its own water and wastewater disposal systems. Although the county “has limited water service in the area,” the project site is not connected to the county system, and the county does not have a sewer collection system nearby. Different state agencies with projects in the area are discussing ways to coordinate infrastructure, according to the notice.

A timeline and costs were not yet available, but are expected to be published in the draft environmental impact statement. The DLNR business park will be developed in multiple phases that are not expected to exceed 10 years. All major infrastructure will be completed before the park is developed.

While the department has been working on a long-term master plan for Pulehunui, the business park is not part of it, according to the notice.

The project is open to public review at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Maui/2010s/2017-03-08-MA-5B-EISPN-DLNR-Business-Park.pdf.

Comments are due April 7 and can be sent to Russell Tsuji, administrator, Land Division, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu 96809 or emailed to dlnr.land@ hawaii.gov. For more information, call (808) 587-0419.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@ mauinews.com.


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