Maui News

Nāpili Home Construction Dispute Surfaces Again in GREAT Committee

By Wendy Osher
November 24, 2021, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated November 23, 11:54 PM
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County of Maui photo.

The construction of a large home in Nāpili, Maui, remains at the center of an ongoing dispute over its permits and size, as well as community concerns involving the height of the structure.

Today it is listed as an agenda item for Maui’s Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee (GREAT), which may receive a status update on the matter this afternoon, with potential discussion focused on the permitting process and related concerns. The Committee is trying to determine if plans were accurate, and if construction followed the plans.

The home is being constructed by Greg Brown at 5385 Lower Honoapiʻilani Road at the corner of Hui Drive in West Maui. A Special Management Area exemption was obtained and building permits were issued by the County of Maui.

According to documents, the property was originally purchased with the idea of building a large vacation home for periodic use by Brown, his family, and extended family with the idea that the home would be utilized as a vacation rental when not in use.

Brown maintains that he notified the County in writing during the SMA permitting process of his intent to utilize the home as a transient vacation rental “as is permitted by zoning” when his family was not using the property.

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But according to timelines provided to the committee, the County informed the Applicant on March 12, 2021 that the SMA Exemption and Building Permit “did not contemplate Transient Vacation Rental Use.”

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The height of the building and the planned use has raised concerns over what some have called a “monster home,” arguing that it violates the Nāpili Bay District two-story limit.

According to Brown, he worked directly with the Planning Department for more than two years during the SMA and building permit review process, with concessions made as well as changes to the design of the home at the request of the department. He said he is also providing four off-street, public parking spaces along Hui Road.

A County of Maui spokesperson responded to Maui Now’s request for comment regarding the project saying, “If there is evidence of a violation, the County of Maui will take appropriate action, which could include suspending or revoking approvals.”

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To determine if there are violations, County officials say a “compliance inspection” must be completed to determine if there are violations of square footage, building height and building stories, which they identified as the main issues.

“If there are violations, the County may issue a Notice of Warning or a Notice of Violation, rescind or revoke permits, issue a stop work order, or take other action based upon the nature of the violation,” according to a County spokesperson. 

According to Brown, “County building inspectors have verified that the home is being built in accordance with the approved plans,” with the most recent inspection and verification on Nov. 16, 2021.

Also at issue is a landscape wall, currently under review by the Planning Department. A building permit application was originally submitted for the wall, but Brown says he was advised it did not require one.

In June, it was advised that the home per the County-approved construction plans exceeded 35 feet, when including an elevator and stairway shafts, however it was not more than two stories, and therefore Brown contends that is is in compliance with zoning.

In an attempt to reach a resolution with the Planning Department and to address the concerns of the community, Brown said he had plans drawn up to lower the height of the house to 35 feet, and voluntarily stopped work for two months.

“Not being able to indefinitely delay construction,” Brown said he was forced to continue building per approved plans. “To reduce the height at this point is not an option as the structure is now almost completely built,” he said.

Brown maintains he is working in accordance with approved permits and “has done nothing wrong.” He said, “There is no legitimate, legal justification to stopping work at this point any further delays in construction will be especially damaging.

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 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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