A recent commentary in the Maui Weekly (Dec. 6-12) described a number of "myths" concerning the Pi'ilani Promenade Outlet and Retail Centers.
Let's take a look at them one by one:
Myth No. 1: The project is bad for local businesses. The truth is that Eclipse Development has met with local business owners, with the Maui Chamber of Commerce leadership and with the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. In no case has any business organization made such [an] argument in any of the meetings held. In fact, the Maui Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the project, and it is anticipated that retailers now on Maui who are looking for a second location will find the Pi'ilani Promenade an excellent option.
Myth No. 2: The developer will open an alternative route for traffic in and out of South Maui. The truth is that no one has ever made that claim. Eclipse Development will build the first leg of the long-awaited Upcountry highway at no cost to the taxpayers, and will follow all state Department of Transportation requirements, including upgrading existing intersections on Pi'ilani Highway. It can be said that as a result of the developer's commitments, the state Department of Transportation is now speeding up the work needed to design and build the entire Upcountry highway.
Myth No. 3: The Pi'ilani Promenade is a mall and the wrong kind of job generation. The truth is that the Pi'ilani Promenade is not an enclosed mall. It is an open-air retail shopping center designed to be pedestrian-friendly with shops, restaurants, community event space and places where south Maui residents can meet--maybe have coffee or tea and catch up on the day's events.
It is estimated that the Pi'ilani Promenade will generate approximately 200 construction jobs, and ultimately, 1,800 retail positions from clerks to district managers--not to mention the increased property taxes that will help keep homeowner taxes low and pay for vital county and nonprofit services.
Myth No. 4: There has been a lack of transparency about the project. The truth is that the state Land Use Commission's decision and order, the proposed zoning by the Maui Planning Commission and the zoning decision by the Maui County Council were all public meetings, and comment was offered at all of them before any decisions were made. There was also a public meeting held in Kihei prior to the council's final zoning vote.
In every meeting, the potential for retail was discussed, and every official body considered and decided against any conditions limiting retail use of the land, in part because retail is an approved light industrial use under the Maui County Codes and because the agencies wanted to let the marketplace decide the ultimate uses of the land.
The fact is that the Pi'ilani Promenade has met all county and state guidelines. It is supported by the Maui planning director and the mayor and is in conformity with the South Maui Community Plan and county zoning laws.
In a few short days it will be 2013. The original LUC decision was in 1995. It's time to move forward and get busy creating jobs and re-building our economy--an economy that is still struggling to recover from one of our worst economic crises.