Makena Expansion Looking Likely

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An expansion of the Makena Resort area has been in the works for over a decade. Like many island developments, the project has been subject to controversy. Proponents of the project cited a boost to the local economy and potential construction jobs. Opponents of the project objected to expansion into an area of tremendous natural beauty and cultural significance. The project simmered on the back burner until this month. It hadn’t been reviewed by county council for four years. At the meetings four years ago, the Maui County Council planning committee agreed to recommend the project if the developer were to agree to 41 conditions. These conditions included environmental and cultural stipulations, infrastructure improvements and more. All that was needed at that point was a signed off unilateral agreement from the developer. The previous developer sold the area and its plans to the current developer 16 months ago. The new developer Everett Dowling and his backers did not sign off until November 7th of this year.

The developer sign off sparked a new round of Maui County Council Planning Committee meetings this week. The committee listened to public testimony and reviewed the 41 conditions. Public testimony was emotional on both sides of the fence but split fairly evenly. The planning committee’s review included increasing the affordable housing requirement so that it would meet the current work force housing requirements. They also needed to better account for water and make some additional commitments for environmental mitigation. After those changes were made, the committee put the project to a vote. It passed by a 7-2 margin. Those that opposed the project were less critical of the developer and more critical of the prospect of expansion into the Makena area.

The project will now go in front of the entire county council for a full vote. The developer will also need to secure financing on the project. This is not necessarily an easy task in today’s financial environment. We will keep tabs on the Makena development on the Maui Real Estate Blog. For additional information on this week’s meetings check out today’s article and yesterday’s article in the Maui News.

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