Fast-Track Affordable Housing Project Proposed in Waikapū
By Wendy Osher
A 45-day period for fast-track consideration has started on the proposed 48-unit Waikapū Gardens-Phase II, affordable housing project in Central Maui, council officials announced today.
The project, proposed for development on 10.5 acres along East Waikō Road, is being offered at 100% “affordable prices” to qualified households fitting income parameters, county officials said.
The 48-unit project consists of single-family house-and-lot packages (featuring 3-bed/2-bath, and 4-bed/3-bath models) on lots ranging from 5,000 to 9,000 square feet, according to information released by the County of Maui.
Under the proposal, house-lot packages will be priced for three income groups: with 14 homes priced for families earning between 80 and 100% of Maui’s median income; 14 homes priced for families earning between 101 and 120% of median income; and 20 homes priced for families earning between 121 and 140% of median income, county officials said in a press release.
The project was reportedly transmitted to the Council on Monday, Aug. 26, and surfaces for consideration during the Council’s Land Use Committee meeting at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4 in the Council Chamber. The meeting will be preceded by a site inspection of the property at 9 a.m.
Under fast-track provisions, the council would be able to grant certain exemptions to the project developer “from certain statutes, ordinances, charter provisions, and agency rules.”
As part of the meeting, members will review a requested exemption from the Maui Island Plan Protected Area designation of ‘Preservation’ for the property.
The council has until Oct. 10 to make a decision on the project. In a press release issued today, Council Vice Chair Robert Carroll said if the committee is unable to reach a recommendation on Wednesday, an additional meeting will be scheduled at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Carroll, who chairs the Council’s LUC continued saying, “I strongly support working with the private sector to make affordable housing available to people who really need it.”
He called the location of the project, “appropriate,” because of its vicinity to public services and close proximity to Waikapū Gardens Phase I–a 411-unit affordable housing subdivision.
Jesse Spencer, the developer of Phase I, was identified as the principal of JES Corporation, the landowner and developer of the new Phase II project.
The project site would be situated mauka of the East Waikō Road and Waiʻale Road intersection, and next to the Waikapu Cemetery. In addition to housing, council officials say the project also calls for a 60,000 square-foot neighborhood commercial center.
Carroll issued a statement saying the 45-day time frame, “presents a challenge for the Council, as we must immediately immerse ourselves in the project when we receive it and gather the information needed to make our decision.”
“Despite strict time constraints,” he said, “I continue to be amazed by what the Council can accomplish when affordable housing for the county is at stake.”