Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: What is Happening at Kanaha Pond Area?

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Kanaha Pond. Photo courtesy DLNR.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at [email protected], 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.


Dear Mayor Arakawa:

Q: I have concerns about the Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and the surrounding waterways. The Wailuku Kahului Community Plan says that “Drainage channels should not be used for building sites but rather for public open space” and that we should “Protect shoreline wetland resources and flood plain areas as valuable natural systems and open space resources.”

With the bankruptcy of the Maui Medical Plaza and its failed plan, apparently, that land was sold to Hawaii Gas.


I understand they plan to put storage tanks there. How can the Planning Department let this happen?

Hope you can help clarify.

A: This parcel, along with most of the adjacent parcels that extend to and around the harbor, are community planned and zoned Heavy Industrial, which allows the medical plaza use and the Hawaii Gas use.


However, any significant proposed development of the site requires a Special Management Area use permit, during which potential environmental and ecological impacts are assessed. The SMA use permit would fall under the authority of the Maui Planning Commission, which would hold a public hearing before making a decision whether to approve or deny the permit; if approved, it would include conditions to mitigate any potential impacts.

This is the process that was followed for the medical plaza.

Interestingly, neighboring Kanaha Pond is part of a much larger parcel that is owned by the State of Hawai‘i and is community planned Open Space and zoned Airport. As with its neighbors, though, any significant proposed development of the site requires an SMA use permit.

The Planning Department has the authority to cite property owners for actions that violate a property’s zoning or other land use designations, or for actions that are undertaken without proper permits. Neither of these has occurred with the present use of the Hawaii Gas property.


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