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Panel OKs next step for Wailea luxury condo plans

Testifiers wanted a lengthier study to be completed first

Despite lengthy community testimony calling for a more in-depth study, the Maui Planning Commission voted Tuesday to accept the final environmental assessment for a 57-unit luxury condominium project proposed for Wailea.

Under applicant and development manager Ledcor, the $130 million Wailea Resort SF-S Residential Project is planning 57 single-family residential units on roughly 23 acres adjacent to Kilohana Park and Wailea Kialoa resort community. Units are expected to sell for about $3.6 million each, mostly to part-time residents.

The 5-2 vote, with commissioners Kawika Freitas and Ashley Lindsey dissenting, affirmed the county Planning Department recommendation to accept the state-required study and to issue a finding of no significant impact.

After April 27’s regular meeting held four hours of more than 35 testifiers — many of whom were concerned about traffic volume, luxury home development, water issues and cultural impacts — the panel picked up the recessed item Tuesday and deliberated.

Freitas, whose motion to require the project complete a lengthy environmental impact statement failed Tuesday, said he is most concerned about water management.

“Voting ‘no’ to an EIS is a slap in the face to our Hawaiian culturalists who have been fighting for what is right,” he said after making the motion. “Voting ‘no’ to this is money first. We don’t care about the local residents. That’s what a ‘no’ to this motion will be.”

Lindsey, who also voted for the EIS, later said she remained concerned the project is “falling a bit short, especially on the cultural resource concerns.”

David Goode, development manager for Wailea SF-S Partners LP and member of the Ledcor applicant team, said Tuesday that about 50 cultural individuals or groups were asked to provide feedback on various approval and entitlement stages since 2019.

“Not all that were asked were able to participate for various reasons, however, many did participate and the door is open to those that wish to share their mana’o,” he said.

Goode added that at least eight individuals are participating in ongoing cultural consultations, many of whom are “well-known cultural practitioners with genealogical and generational ties to the area.”

Kellie Pali, who voted against the EIS, said that although she respects opinions from Freitas and from many of her “own family,” she “highly disagrees” that voting “yes” to the EIS means that she is for the people and voting “no” means she’s against them.

Pali added that the project commitment to restricting short-term rentals was key to her support.

No short-term rentals or ohana units will be allowed, according to Goode.

Project documents indicate that 51 units, or 90 percent, are expected to house part-time residents, while the other six units, or 10 percent, are expected to be for full-time residents.

A typical floor plan shows that condos would range from 2,600 to 3,300 square feet with additional space for a pool, garage and covered lanai.

Ledcor Development, the Canadian-based group behind the project, has built or proposed multiple luxury developments in the area, including a 75-condo project called La’i Loa that has already gone on the market and a proposed 289-unit community of homes, duplexes and multifamily units.

Commission Vice Chairwoman P. Denise La Costa, who made the motion Tuesday to accept the final environmental assessment and issue a finding of no significant impact, said the applicant has done a lot of work to comply with land-use and other requirements.

“We have heard and seen and had opinions about everything here,” she said. “There has been a lot of work done, a lot of consideration, and what people do with their property is actually their kuleana and not up to us to tell them what to do just like you wouldn’t want someone telling you you have to have a different color house because they felt that you should.”

As part of an agreement with the state Department of Transportation, the proposed project will provide 57 units toward the 150 unit threshold to contribute millions in proposed improvements to Pi’ilani Highway.

The applicant said other updates to the project since its draft environmental assessment include the following:

• The Archeological Inventory Survey was accepted by the state Historic Preservation Division.

• Cultural gardens will be included along the main entry and makai entry.

• A sidewalk along Wailea Alanui Drive will be added.

• Additional bike lanes along Kilohana Drive from Wailea Alanui Drive to Napili Street and on both sides of Kapili Street from Kilohana to Okolani drives have been included.

• The applicant will design and build a sidewalk along Wailea Alanui Drive to facilitate a future bus stop near the intersection with Kilohana Street, should one be desired by government entities with jurisdiction.

• An additional view study was completed from Piilani Highway showing there will be no impacts to the view.

• Photovoltaic solar panels will be added to all residences and the amenity center.

• Short-term rentals will be prohibited in the condominium’s declaration.

The next steps for the project include publishing the final environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact in the state Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “The Environmental Notice”; scheduling a Maui Planning Commission public hearing for the concurrent review of county special management area use permit and county Planning Department Step II applications; and the Planning Department’s Step III approval process.

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

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