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Haʻikū Residents File Suit Against Paʻuwela Homes Project

March 15, 2017, 2:01 PM HST (Updated March 17, 2017, 11:14 AM) · 12 Comments
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Hoapili Hale, Maui Court house. Maui Now photo.

A group of more than two hundred Haʻikū residents, who have organized as Nā Hīnano o Paʻuwela, have filed a lawsuit against Kauhikoa Land LLC and the County of Maui in Maui’s Environmental Court challenging the recent approval of the 129-acre Kauhikoa Farms subdivision and its 18.5-acre Lot 6 “Paʻuwela Homes” residential development.

  1. The complaint alleges five counts:
    The proposed subdivision was required to conduct an environmental assessment because the subdivision uses old government roads and trails, but didn’t.
  2. The development is based upon the Interim Zoning Ordinance, originally adopted in 1958. The state law granting the County zoning powers prohibits interim zoning laws from being used on a permanent basis.
  3. The proposed development violates the County’s Workforce Housing Policy because in addition to the strict income requirements of the law to ensure housing goes to workers, the state agricultural district requires landowners to operate an active agricultural operation within all agriculturally zoned lands.
  4. The proposed development violates the State Land Use Law because agriculturally zoned lands may not be developed into single family housing. Farm dwellings are allowed as an accessory use to an active agricultural operation and clustering of farm dwellings is only permitted for plantation housing.
  5. The County of Maui has failed to meet its public trust obligations under the State Constitution.

Nā Hīnano o Paʻuwela is primarily concerned with what they call “unaddressed traffic impacts” to Paʻuwela Road and Hāna Highway, as well as impacts to Haʻikū School including access and safety issues.  The group has also expressed concerns of potential impacts from “disturbing the decades of agricultural chemicals currently contained in the soils,” the “lack of protection for the numerous cultural sites,” the “obliteration of old government roads and trails,” and drainage impacts.

Nā Hīnano’s attorney, Lance D. Collins said, “This project has attempted to thread itself through multiple loopholes to avoid any public review or oversight of the project. In the process, it has disregarded both the purpose of workforce housing and the purpose of the having an agricultural district.”

A motion for preliminary injunction was filed and the Environmental Court has scheduled a hearing on the motion for May 5, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Joseph E. Cardoza.

Separately, the Haʻikū Community Association will be discussing the Kauhikoa Farms subdivision and the Paʻuwela Homes Project at its next monthly meeting on March 23 at 6 p.m. at the Haʻikū Community Center, with representatives from both the county and state.

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