Council Approves Funding to Buy North Shore Parcel at Kuiaha
By Maui Now Staff
The recently passed 2016 fiscal year budget includes a $3 million appropriation for the county’s acquisition of 267 acres at Kuiaha, along Maui’s North Shore.
Council vice chair Don Guzman made the announcement today saying, “This appropriation by the council sends a strong message of support for this acquisition to the administration, the land owner and the public. Time is of the essence, as the four parcels that comprise the 267 acres along approximately 1 mile of coastal frontage are on the open market.”
In a press release statement, Guzman said the Director of Finance has the authority to enter into negotiations with the land owner for the purchase of real property for purposes in the public interest. “With less than 30 days remaining before the commencement of the fiscal year 2016 budget, it is my hope the director will begin discussions with the land owner sooner rather than later,” he said.
According to Guzman, the funding was approved under the county’s Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources and Scenic Views Preservation Fund. The specific recommendation for funding was made by Guzman during the council’s annual budget session in the spring.
According to Guzman, the Open Space Fund has yet to invest in the Hamakuloa area of Maui’s North Shore, where the subject property is located.
Guzman stated that for more than a century, this oceanfront site of former pineapple farming activity has not been considered for development.
The subject parcel is located in the Haʻikū-Kuiaha region east of Pāʻia and is currently owned by A&B Properties.
The property is near the iconic big-wave surf spot of Peʻahi, (often referred to as “Jaws”), a place that Guzman called, “a landmark with enormous cultural history and significance.”
“This land meets all the purposes of the Open Space Fund, including public outdoor recreation and education, preservation of historic and culturally important lands, and protection of significant habitat, coastal areas and agricultural lands,” Guzman said.
According to Guzman, an online petition garnered more than 1,000 signatures in one week, urging the preservation of the large agricultural tracts and shoreline access.
“I am hopeful the administration understands the sense of urgency of this acquisition,” Guzman said. “This is a momentous opportunity – similar to prior acquisitions such as Līpoa Point, Launiupoko, Palauea, Ukumehame, Mūʻolea, Nuʻu, Waiheʻe Dairy and Kaehu – to do the right thing and ensure these special places are protected and available for use, care and enjoyment by our future generations.”