About seven acres of land beneath Kula Community Center and tennis courts are slated for public foreclosure sale in a couple weeks — but residents, including tennis and pickleball players, are hoping the county can net the parcel.
The 7.043-acre parcel at 4355 Lower Kula Road is scheduled for a public foreclosure sale at 10 a.m. March 3 at Hoapili Hale, Wailuku courthouse.
Kula resident Steven Sutrov on Friday asked that the County of Maui do “whatever is necessary” to acquire the land.
“It’s an asset that deserves to be taken care of and completed one day to accommodate us all,” he testified during Maui County Council’s regular meeting. He added that the area’s master plan calls for more tennis courts, parking and open space.
Laura Loney, a pickleball player, said the facilities are well-loved and well-used.
“Since the county has already invested a lot of money into building the courts and the facility there, it makes sense to purchase this property,” she testified.
Bruce Harris, who’s lived in Kula for more than 40 years, urged the county to purchase the land.
“It was with great surprise to learn the county did not own the land beneath the Kula Community Center and the playing courts,” he said.
Introduced by the mayor’s administration, a resolution to authorize the land’s acquisition at public auction was adopted with amendments by the Maui County Council in a 9-0 vote on Friday night. Now, the ball is in the administration’s court.
The resolution authorizes the mayor or the mayor’s duly authorized representative to attend the public auction and place a bid on the property, or in the alternative, negotiate a sales price and execute all necessary documents in connection with the acquisition of the property.
Last year’s total assessed land value of the property is $874,400, according to the resolution. Maui County Code requires that the council authorize by resolution any acquisition of real property with a purchase price that exceeds $250,000.
Kula Ridge Mauka LLC in 2006 bought the land from Von Tempsky FP. The sale was not on the open market, and the purchase price is not recorded with Maui Real Property Tax.
Over time, Kula Ridge defaulted on payments to Von Tempsky FP, and the land is now subject to a foreclosure proceeding in Second Circuit Court and a public foreclosure sale, according to the resolution.
Meanwhile, the County of Maui since 1954 has had a sublease on the property; the Kula Community Center and the Kula Tennis Courts are owned by the county. The sublease expires in November 2050.
County Deputy Managing Director Josiah Nishita during testimony asked that the council take swift action due to the “time-sensitive nature” of the issue.
The council on Friday spent time in executive session to discuss behind closed doors certain terms and conditions that should be added to the resolution. The terms and conditions, which were not disclosed during open session, were added to the resolution by amendment.