Maui County General Plan

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Today, Billy and I had the opportunity to attend a Realtor meeting on the Maui County General Plan led by Mike Foley and Dave Michaelson of the planning department sponsored by Title Guaranty Escrow. It was an informative review of what Maui is doing to address growth in the next twenty to thirty years. The plan will have a strong impact on what Maui will look like for the next generation. The last plan was created in 1990.

Foley and Michaelson indicated that the plan is a directed growth strategy on how we are going to grow. The debate over no growth vs. growth no longer makes sense. It is not if we grow, but how we grow. Among the key issues that will need to be addressed in the plan include the following:

1)How do we address the separation of communities? What do we do to keep the buffers between existing communities so that communities such as Makawao and Pukalani and Paia and Haiku remain separate and distinct entities. This issue can be tied into ideas of sprawl vs. density.

2)What is the plan for Maui’s current agricultural land? What do we do to preserve agricultural land? What are permitted use of ag zoned property? How is this issue compounded by the fact that a lot of Maui’s agricultural industry is dependent on heavy subsidies to remain viable?

3)How do we provide affordable housing? It is clear that there is a shortage of affordable housing on the island? How do address this issue. How much is needed? How do we get developers to cooperate with the building of affordable housing? Who do we cater future developments on the island to?

4)How do we ensure adequate water supply? How do we distribute water from the various watersheds to different communities?

5)How do we get developers to build with infrastructure is place vs. where land is cheaper?

Many of these same issues were raised in 1990. What will hopefully differentiate the next version of the community plan is that this plan hopes to address how these issues will be addressed. While the issues discussed are daunting, Foley and Michaelson did give a room a sense of excitement about the efforts being made to address and legislate the issues. In the next few days, I will do another blog post reviewing some of the timeframes of the general plan, ways technology is being used and the ways the planning department is incorporating input from the community.

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