WEST MAUI - At its Aug. 2 meeting, the County Council's General Plan Committee voted to change the underlying planning for four West Maui agricultural subdivisions to rural.
This action is the first major step forward to changes of areas that are more of a rural homestead instead of a true agricultural nature. The decision affects four West Maui subdivisions, including parts of Ukumehame, parts of the Launiupoko area (the Mahanalua Nui subdivision), a small section of Kahana Ridge and the Kapalua Plantation Estates.
The council also included 185 acres of land between Puamana and Olowalu to reflect the mayor's recently announced plans to acquire land for future open space and recreational use.
This is the proposed conceptual coastal park plan from Puamana to Olowalu.
The biggest and most talked-about change was to allow and develop the long range plan of Olowalu Town.
This master planned community for Olowalu Town received very strong viewpoints from both sides of the argument regarding its development. With the support of many of the residents there, and the extremely well-planned and knowledgeable information from the Maui planners, Bill Frampton and Dave Ward, it won the support of the County Council with an overwhelming majority vote.
With its vote to shift some West Maui agricultural subdivisions to rural, the council has taken a first step in a process that would ultimately result in these properties being zoned rural.
The next steps include changing the community plan designations, the state Land Use District designations and then finally the actual zoning. The community will have plenty of opportunities to express its views of this proposal every step of the way. What is significant is that with the County Council's action, it will be their policy to move in that direction. This is just the beginning of a process that may take years to move forward.
The proposed change for these ag areas would not result in any major changes in the character of these neighborhoods. The council specifically indicated that it would not support changing the density of these communities to anything smaller than two acres, and to make sure that the owners who want to farm will still be able to continue to do so.
As the County Council finalizes its recommendations for West Maui and the whole Maui Island Plan, we hope the plan produces a true long-range vision for smart growth and development that will preserve Maui's unique attributes, local flavor and way of life intact.