Maui News

Amendments Considered for Maui’s “Show Me the Water” Policy

January 1, 2016, 10:50 AM HST
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Water, photo by Wendy Osher.

Water, photo by Wendy Osher.

The Maui County Water Resources Committee will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 at 9 a.m. in the Council Chambers to hear proposed amendments meant to lessen the force of the county’s current “Show Me the Water” policy.

As currently written, WR-11 requires developers to show adequate water resources for their projects and provide evidence of “a long-term, reliable supply of water.”

County officials say the water availability policy, codified at Chapter 14.12 of the Maui County Code, was enacted in 2007 with the intent to conserve the county’s water resources.

Those pushing for passage of the amendments argue that the policy is one of the main reasons why affordable housing has not been built.

Opponents of the proposed changes to the policy, including the Maui Tomorrow Foundation provided a retort saying the “County doesnʻt actually know how many affordable units are owed to (them) from some of these same developers who have yet to build them, and who are lining up future projects without fulfilling their existing responsibilities.”

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Maui Tomorrow claims that the majority of future housing units will be unavailable to most Maui residents due to the rising price that makes owning a home unaffordable to many.

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The organization further asserts that some developers have been “sitting on affordable unit permits for years” and have done nothing about them, “all the while successfully building and selling their market-priced units within the project.”

Maui Tomorrow representatives said, “We cannot allow them to blame a water policy that seeks to protect one of our most precious resources from overuse for private financial gain.”

Organization representatives say, “If developers are able to amend the policy, the uncertainty of water availability could become a major concern for all existing water users when the next drought strikes.”

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The organization is asking that the policy remain in place as is, and that the county take the additional step of not issuing new permits for developments until all workforce housing owed has been completed.

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