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Honolua plans to navigate lengthy public review process

WEST MAUI – Honolua Bay is a diverse island resource – a marine conservation district, world-class surfing spot, rich agricultural region and one of six bays of High Chief Pi’ilani, including Honokowai, Honokeana, Honokahua, Honokohau and Hononana.

It was home to one of the first island coffee plantations, later known as Honolua Ranch. Other farming ventures of the agricultural enterprise were mango, taro and aloe, with pineapple added to the fields in 1912.

From the high tide line into the ocean, Honolua Bay is the Honolua-Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District, dedicated in 1978 by Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc. (ML&P) to protect the pristine snorkeling site.

On the north side of the bay off the point, surfers can catch the longest ride on the island, and there are five breaks: Keiki Bowls, The Cave, The Point, Coconuts and Subs.

The West Maui Community Plan land use map designations for Honolua and points north, to the edge of the planning district, are agricultural and conservation.

“Lands north of Kapalua and south of Puamana to the region’s district boundaries should ensure the preservation of traditional lifestyles, historic sites, agriculture, recreational activities and open space,” reads the policy statement written a little over ten years ago by the Lahaina Community Advisory Committee.

With Maui Land & Pineapple recently submitting conceptual plans to the Maui County General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) for a cultural park, surf park, private campgrounds, links-style golf course, clubhouse and 40 home sites located in the Lipoa/Honolua area, the character of the rugged upper West Side could be redrafted forever.

But the community plan, county zoning and state land use will all have to be changed first, offering multiple stake holders the opportunity to get involved in charting the course of a new West Maui.

John Summers is the planning program administrator for the Long Range Planning Division of the county Department of Planning.

Summers explained how the Honolua plans will navigate their way through the lengthy public review process.

“The Planning Department will come up with a draft Maui Island Plan. The Maui General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) will review it and review any applications from any developer and make recommendations to the (planning) department as to whether or not projects are included or not,” Summers said.

“After that,” the long range planner continued, “... the Maui Planning Commission will review the Maui Island Plan and also make recommendations, and the recommendations of the GPAC, Planning Commission and Planning Department will go up to the County Council, and the County Council will review the plan. They are vested with the final decision-making authority.”

The review of the Maui Island Plan by the 25-member GPAC begins this summer in June, with four of the panelists representing West Maui: Kaipo Kekona, Hans Michel, Vincent Hinano Rodrigues and Frank W. Sylva.

GPAC Co-chair Dick Mayer is a retired Maui Community College professor of economics and world geography. In an interview with Lahaina News, Mayer spoke on his own behalf.

In mapping out the Maui Island Plan, the GPAC will make “specific recommendations; for example, establishing urban growth boundaries around communities and perhaps developing transportation corridors and indicating various public facility improvements, such as schools medical facilities, etc. etc.,” Mayer said.

He indicated that during the GPAC review, community members will have the opportunity to participate in the drafting of those specifications, “by urging the GPAC to make very specific recommendations on all future projects.”

Summers said the GPAC is considering holding meetings in planning districts other than Wailuku.

“They (members of the community) can submit comments to the (planning) department as well,” Summers added.

In any case, the public can access the panel’s meeting schedule and agendas at At the website, information about the General Plan 2030 is linked through the planning department.

Honolua Valley resident Elle Cochran is one West Sider who won’t miss any of the meetings pertinent to her valley home.

Cochran’s on a mission: “My main goal is to get as many people from the community involved with the planning process. I want them to see what is at stake here.”

“I understand that we won’t be able to stop development completely,” she added. “My desire is to work together as ’ohana to make sure all is pono within the planning. I want to wake people up to the fact that we can make a positive impact here.”

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