Court hearing delays action on Makena development’s SMA permit

The Maui News

The Maui Planning Commission will hold a hearing Tuesday on ATC Makena Holding’s application for a special management area permit, but under a court order last week the panel will only acknowledge and accept petitions to intervene.

Meanwhile, Maui County is not processing the permit for the proposed 158-unit, mixed-use Makena Resort project until after a June 9 hearing in 2nd Circuit Court on a motion for a preliminary injunction, attorneys told 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza last week.

Project plans call for building 88 multifamily units (including four affordable rental units), 20 single-family cottages, 26 single-family custom lots, 10 transient vacation rentals, 14 condominium units, about 27,300 square feet of commercial space and grading, utility, landscaping and roadway improvements on 47 acres on Makena Alanui Road. Overall, the company has 1,800 acres in Makena, much of which is zoned for development.

Plaintiffs Ho’opono O Makena, Maui Tomorrow Foundation and Sierra Club Maui Group filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Maui’s Environmental Court, alleging that the project’s environmental assessment provided only a limited review of the master-planned development.

The lawsuit also argues that the environmental assessment didn’t consider significant impacts to public views, beach access, historic sites and groundwater resources. The plaintiffs want a more comprehensive environmental impact statement done.

Discovery Land Co. is managing the development. Ed Divita, a partner, has said the development is a standalone project and denied specific plans for the rest of the property.

He has said the project is environmentally sustainable, exceeds engineering standards and raises the bar for best management practices. He also said it contributes community benefits and proposes to develop only one-fourth of the residential density otherwise allowed by its zoning.

Divita maintained that the project received strong community support during its reviews before the Urban Design Review Board, the Cultural Resources Commission and environmental assessment hearings.

The project is makai of Makena Alanui Road and on the Wailea side of the former Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

If the attempt to block the resort project fails in court on June 9, then the commission may continue to process its application for a special management area permit, according to an agreement among attorneys.

The commission’s agenda said the public hearing on ATC Makena’s special management area permit request would be continued on July 11.