Draft environmental statement for proposed business park published

A 280-acre light industrial and commercial park in Pulehunui that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources hopes will generate revenue for its programs is moving forward, after the project’s draft environmental impact statement was released last week.

Plans for the park, which the department said last year could evolve into a business area akin to Dairy Road, are now open to public comment through July 9. The draft was published in Wednesday’s edition of the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “The Environmental Notice.”

The business park would be located along Maui Veterans Highway, north of the Maui Raceway Park and the Hawaii National Guard Armory. It would allow for light industrial, commercial, government and nonprofit use on 66 lots of various sizes. The park would also include a 20.3-acre site for the proposed Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrative facilities and baseyard. Division staff currently work out of a small, 3-acre baseyard that sits in a tsunami evacuation zone near the Kahului Airport.

The business park would be the DLNR Land Division’s first major property development on Maui, Division Administrator Russell Tsuji said during a presentation at the Kihei Community Center in August.

Tsuji told the community that the department doesn’t get as much funding as other state agencies and needs to find more ways to generate revenue. Long-term leases in the business park could bring in between $13.6 million and $14 million in annual net revenue if the entire project were leased to a master sublessor who would manage the project and lease individual lots to tenants, according to the draft environmental impact statement. If the department leased the lots directly to tenants, the revenue could be between $18.3 million and $18.8 million.

The department hopes the revenue could help fund its conservation, state parks and forestry and wildlife programs. Thirty percent of the annual lease revenue would also be set aside for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, while 20 percent would be set aside for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Construction of the business park is expected to start in 2022. Total infrastructure costs are estimated between $114.8 million and $148.4 million. The infrastructure work would be phased to allow some lots to be leased two years after construction starts. Individual tenants would complete the buildings for their respective lots.

The business park would be divided into 83 lots — 18 lots of 0.5 to less than 1 acre, 32 lots of 1 to less than 3 acres, 25 lots of 3 to less than 5 acres, and 8 lots of less than 5 acres. The department expects the lots to take up 227 acres — 159 in light industrial, including the DOFAW baseyard, and 68 in commercial. Roadways would cover 23 acres, while 30 acres would be open space.

Alexander & Baldwin formerly leased the 280 acres for sugar cultivation, and the land is designated agricultural by both the state and county. Thus, the business park would require a state Land Use Commission district boundary amendment, a community plan amendment and a county change of zoning.

The project may also require building an onsite wastewater treatment plant. The Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility, located six miles north of the project, is near capacity and would require costly upgrades to allow wastewater to be transported from the business park. Delivering wastewater to the Kihei facility, located six miles south, is more cost effective. However, there is no guarantee that the county will finish upgrades to the south Kihei transmission system on schedule with the Pulehunui project.

To view the full draft environmental impact statement, visit oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/EA_EIS_Library/2018-05-23-MA-DEIS-DLNR-Business-Park.pdf.

Comments on the project are due July 9. They can be sent to DLNR Land Division Administrator Russell Tsuji at

russell.y.tsuji@hawaii.gov or to P.O. Box 621, Honolulu 96809, or by calling (808) 587-0419.

Comments can also be sent to Gov. David Ige at governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-governor/ or to the Executive Chambers, State Capitol, 415 S. Beretania St., Honolulu 96813, or by calling (808) 586-0034.

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