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Paʻuwela Homes Offers 100% Workforce Housing

Wendy Osher · March 17, 2017, 10:52 AM HST (Updated March 21, 2017, 9:12 AM) · 24 Comments
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A new 33-home subdivision is being built on 18.5 acres in Haʻikū that uniquely offers 100% Workforce Housing for Maui families with a 5,000 sq ft farm lot to go along with each property.

The Paʻuwela Homes development is located on former A&B pineapple land mauka of the Haʻikū Community Center and the Pilialoha Subdivision.  It’s also bordered by the Paʻuwela Gulch and Lot 5 Kauhikoa Farms to the south, and is within walking distance of Haʻikū Elementary School.

Kauhikoa Land LLC purchased the parcel in November of 2015, and has been working on the development of the project since then.

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    Developers say Paʻuwela Homes is the ideal location for Maui’s working families.  “It’s targeted for a specific group.  We need all kinds of housing on Maui,” said Dave Ward, with Kauhikoa Land LLC.  “It will not solve the lack of inventory on the island,” but he said it will offer the benefits of home ownership to island residents in a market where rents are often in excess of the monthly payment on a home.

    Ward called the 33 unit subdivision “a start,” saying there has been very little product on the market in the area and “very little additional inventory in Haʻikū with the exception of agricultural lots.”

    Given the current guidelines on housing projects, developers of a project this size would only be required to provide eight homes at workforce prices, but Ward said he hoped the 100% workforce subdivision would provide one solution to the need for housing for Maui families.

    “It’s not going to solve all of the world’s problems,” but Ward said he hopes the project can be a nice, “positive addition to the community.”

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    The workforce subdivision is regulated under Maui County Code 2.96, meaning that entitlements were already in place, with the area already designated for single-family use in the Pāʻia-Haʻikū Community Plan that was adopted in 1995.

    The community features 3 and 4 bedroom single-family homes on 6,900-11,500 sq ft lots that each come with an additional 5,000 sf farm plot for growing fruits and vegetables and other farming opportunities.

    The fee-simple homes are being prioritized for income-qualified owner occupants who meet the criteria established by the County of Maui, including a public lottery.

    Maximum home prices based on qualifications range from $449,200 to $723,235.  Ten of the properties are for families with a median income of between 80-100% (up to $81,500); 17 of the homes are for families with a median income of between 100-120%($81,500-$97,800); and six of the homes are for families with a median income of 120-140% ($97,800-$114,100).

    Depending on how much a homeowner can contribute as a down-payment, estimates are that the monthly mortgage on the home could range from an estimated $2,300 to the mid $3,000s.

    Maui residents will be given priority over other eligible applicants.

    In order to qualify, an applicant must be a citizen of the US or a permanent resident alien of the County of Maui; must be 18 years of age or older; have a gross annual family income which does not exceed 140% of the County’s median income as established by HUD; have assets that do not exceed 140% of the County’s median income as established by HUD; have no ownership or joint ownership that was 50% or more of a property in fee or leasehold in the US for three years before submittal of the buyer interest form.

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    Paʻuwela Homes workshops for potential home buyers.

    A buyer workshop for the Paʻuwela Homes project is being offered for those interested in purchasing a home at the new subdivision.  Those in attendance will learn how to qualify and find out more about the project.  Workshops are scheduled on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and Tuesday, March 28, 2017, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on both days at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Pilina Building. To RSVP, call (808) 280-8981.

    The project is the subject of a lawsuit filed by four plaintiffs against Kauhikoa Land LLC and the County of Maui, challenging the recent approval of the project. Concerns raised included alleged traffic impacts, agricultural chemicals, cultural sites and drainage impacts.

    Maui Now has learned that access to the project will be via two separate County of Maui roadways: Pilialoha Street and Paʻuwela Road, both of which are regulated by speed limits and other county rules for safety.

    An Environmental Site Assessment investigation was conducted in mid-2015, which included review of environmental records.  The document concluded that there was no evidence of recognized environmental conditions nor historical recognized environmental conditions.  The developer also conducted soil sampling and tested for two types of chemicals used in pineapple production, finding no traces present.

    An Archaeology Inventory Survey was also compiled in 2016 and documented seven historic sites, “none of which were in the area of the proposed workforce housing project, and none of which were recommended for preservation or further work.”  Archival research acknowledged the existence of loʻi and other historical sites located on adjacent land in the nearby gulch.

    A drainage report was reviewed during the building permit and grading permit process, and plans are to implement a Low Impact development to capture storm water and protect water quality.

    “Paʻuwela Homes is designed to provide more families with the opportunity to obtain single family homes in Haʻikū,” Ward said.  “The families will become members of the Haʻikū community just as families had the opportunity to join the Haʻikū community in the 1980s with the Pilialoha Subdivision.”

    Fellow investor and partner, Peter Martin said the “practical difficulties of this type of lawsuit until settled is recent buyers can not get financing for their homes.”  He said one family has decided to not purchase because they can not get financing.

    Martin said he faced a similar lawsuit over the Kahoma Homes affordable project that was won after five years of legal proceedings.  He called that lawsuit “frivolous,” and “nimby,” resulting in millions of dollars in costs and delays.

    Ward said he hopes the Paʻuwela Homes will be a positive addition to the community and offer families an opportunity to own a single-family home on the island.

    Paʻuwela Homes subdivision. Artist rendering.

    Paʻuwela Homes subdivision – Model A: 3B, 2B. Artist rendering.

    Paʻuwela Homes subdivision – Model B: 3B, 2B + garage. Artist rendering.

    Paʻuwela Homes subdivision – Model C: 4B, 2B. Artist rendering.

    Paʻuwela Homes subdivision – Model C: 4B, 2B + garage. Artist rendering.

    Wendy Osher
    Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 15 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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