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South Maui housing projects get green light

Liloa Hale would offer 117 units for seniors, Hale Kaiola 40 units

A vacant lot that will one day serve as the site of a 117-unit affordable senior housing complex is pictured Friday near Hope Chapel along Piilani Highway in Kihei. The Maui County Council approved the Liloa Hale Senior Rental Housing Project on Friday. — The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Two affordable housing projects slated for South Maui got the green light from the Maui County Council on Friday afternoon.

Liloa Hale Senior Rental Housing Project will construct a three-story apartment building with 117 units on nearly 4 acres near Hope Chapel and makai of Piilani Highway.

Separately, Hale Kaiola duplex will hold 40 units on three acres at Ohukai Street and Kaiola Place.

The council voted 9-0 on each project during its regular meeting Friday.

Council Member Kelly King, who holds the South Maui residency seat, said the projects are good examples of workforce housing gaining approval through the county, which has long faced a housing crisis and a cost of living among the highest in the nation.

Weeds grow on a barbed wire fence at the site of the proposed Hale Kaiola project off Kihei’s Ohukai Road Friday. The Maui County Council approved the 40-unit affordable housing project Friday. — The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I hope people when they come before us stop saying, ‘When are you ever going to get affordable housing done?’ Because we are getting affordable housing done,” King said.

Proposed by developer Liloa Senior Housing LP, Liloa Hale will construct a three-story elevator-served building that holds 101 one-bedroom apartments, five of which will be ADA compliant, and 16 two-bedroom apartments, one of which will be ADA compliant.

Seniors earning 60 percent and below the area median income, established by Department of Housing and Human Concerns guidelines, will be eligible to rent. For multifamily housing on Maui, that means an income of $58,500 and below.

The apartment building will be managed by Hale Mahaolu, which also manages the adjacent senior affordable housing project, Hale Mahaolu Ekihu. The project will have a deed-restricted affordability period of 60 years.

The development is part of a nearly 18-acre parcel owned by Hope Chapel. The developer intends to purchase 4.9 acres from Hope Chapel under a condominium property regime.

King said the project has received a lot of support.

“There are still a couple concerns, but the project developers really worked hard with the community,” she said. “The biggest thing they did was lower the height of the project, or the view corridor, and that was a pretty big deal. It reduced a lot of units.”

She added that the fact that the facility will be managed by Hale Mahaolu gives her “a lot of confidence.”

Farther north, 100 percent workforce housing project Hale Kaiola duplex will hold 40 units on about 3 acres at Ohukai Street and Kaiola Place.

The project will include two- and three-bedroom units, ranging from 731 square feet to 1,240 square feet, with prices spanning $295,000 to $650,000.

Residents earning between 80 and 140 percent of the area median income determined by the Department of Housing and Human Concerns’ Affordable Sales Price Guidelines will be eligible to apply. For multifamily housing, that would mean an income of $78,000 to $136,500.

Two parking stalls per unit and parking for disabled individuals will be required. Also, eight spaces will be available for visitors.

Developed by Hale Kaiola Joint Venture, comprising Waihe’e Valley Regenesis and Hale Kaiola LLC, the project will be deed-restricted as residential workforce housing for 20 years.

Construction will start within two years and finish within five years from special management area permit approval, according to county documents.

On Friday, the council also:

• Voted 8-0, with Council Member Kelly King excused, to adopt a resolution that supports “the vital role of the free press” and rights of Maui workers employed at The Maui News, the county’s only six-day-a-week newspaper, during a time when West Virginia-based owner Ogden Newspapers Inc. is seeking to have Mainland workers edit stories and design the pages of the newspaper relied on by Maui, Molokai and Lanai residents. “Would West Virginia like to have Maui County people write and draft the news for West Virginia?” asked Council Member Riki Hokama after the vote. “I don’t think any West Virginian wants a Maui person to write about them and tell them about themselves. I think we would prefer that our own local people have that opportunity to present what is important to us in our daily newspaper.”

• Voted 8-0, with Council Member Tasha Kama excused, on first reading of a bill to prohibit transient accommodation permits on Lanai until caps for bed-and-breakfasts and short-term rental home permits are established for the island.

• Voted 8-0, with Kama excused, on first reading of a bill to prevent long-term rental and owner-occupied properties from converting to transient vacation rental use in apartment, light industrial and heavy industrial districts by prohibiting transient vacation rental use on properties where transient vacation rental use had not occurred prior to Jan. 1.

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

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