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DHHL has plans for 850 Honokowai acres

Other projects in works over next five years

A map shows the 850 acres where the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is considering projects that could include homestead and agricultural lots as well as a church, private school, health care center and park. DHHL photo

New homestead and agricultural lots, along with possibilities for a church, private school, health care center and park, are being mulled for about 850 acres of state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in Honokowai.

The West Maui lots could be ready by fall 2027. However, project timeline, number of lots, other infrastructure plans and costs remain in flux, emphasized department spokesman Cedric Duarte earlier this month, as DHHL is in the early stages of the development process.

DHHL’s Honokowai project kicked off late last month with the information gathering phase. Up next will be a concept plan with technical studies for desired land uses in a draft environmental assessment, which is slated for March, the department spokesman said.

“From there, the department will begin the master planning and design phase of our development, which will inform us on what types of infrastructure will be needed and provide estimated costs to build,” Duarte said. Then, the department “would request funding from the Legislature to move forward with infrastructure construction.”

As a whole, the development for DHHL projects, which has four phases (planning, engineering design, construction and post-construction), can take six to eight years, according to a recent Maui County Council Affordable Housing Committee presentation by the department. That’s assuming all stages have funding authorization and procurement approvals.

“Lots and homes are two different things — we have to create the infrastructure first before we can get either into a turnkey situation, a vacant lot situation, a self-help or a habitat situation,” William Aila, DHHL chairman, said at the meeting. “We want to make it very clear, because I don’t want to promise something that is going to take longer than expectations. These are lots, these are lots that are getting ready to do the vertical infrastructure.”

During the meeting last month, DHHL officials presented Maui County projects in the works over the next five years, which include the following (along with their current phase of development):

• For fiscal year 2020: 10 minimum scattered lots (assessment and design) in Kula and Waiohole-Hikina.

• For 2021: 76 lots (design) for Keokea-Waiohuli Phase 2A.

• For 2022, 61 lots (design) in Keokea-Waiohuli Phase 2B; 21 lots (planning and design) for Molokai’s Hoolehua-Palaau; 58 lots (planning and design) for Molokai’s Naiwa; and 25 lots (planning) for Honokowai Subsistence Ag Phase 1.

• For 2023, 25 lots (planning) for Honokowai Subsistence Ag Phase 1; 161 lots (acquisition) for Puunani, Wailuku; 75 lots (not listed) for Leialii Phase 1B-1.

• For 2024, 73 lots (design) for Keokea-Waiohuli Phase 3; and 125 lots (not listed) for Leialii Phase 1B-2.

Aila noted impediments to development include funding for off-site and on-site improvements; potable and nonpotable water; wastewater credits and improvements; environmental compliance; regulatory processing; development in remote areas that results in higher bids; redevelopment of aged infrastructure and subdivisions.

The department said for the next fiscal year it will make a legislative request of $79 million for lot development and other projects in Maui County.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.