The long and controversial saga of Pi'ilani Promenade, the 88-acre commercial development in Kihei enmeshed in complicated quasi-judicial proceedings before the state Land Use Commission (LUC) since May of 2012, has been extended until this summer. In a 2013 action, the LUC had instructed the landowners to submit a motion to amend the original Decision and Order by the end of last year. That deadline was met. However, according to recent correspondence, it now appears the matter is unlikely to be considered by the commission again until August of this year. The original docket for this parcel of land dates back to 1994.
In a letter dated Dec. 31, 2013, addressed to LUC Executive Officer Daniel Orodenker, Attorney Jonathan Steiner, representing landowner Sarofim Realty Advisors, requested the matter be scheduled for "no earlier than the second meeting of the Land Use Commission in August 2014."
"We also request, and the parties hereby agree, that the date to respond to the motion be set at a later time, to follow the hearing at which the Final EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] is presented to the commission for acceptance, and sufficiently prior to the hearing on the motion to amend."
Attorney Jonathan Steiner, representing Pi‘ilani Promenade (left) landowner Sarofim Realty Advisors, requested a hearing “no earlier than the second meeting of the Land Use Commission in August 2014.” In his Dec. 31, 2013, letter, Steiner said that the delay is necessary because the owners are “in the process of preparing the Environmental Impact Statement, which needs to be accepted and processed by the commission prior to the hearing on the motion to amend.”
"The reason for this request," Steiner wrote, is that the landowner is "in the process of preparing the Environmental Impact Statement, which needs to be accepted and processed by the commission prior to the hearing on the motion to amend."
The letter anticipates "that the Final EIS will be ready for submission and acceptance by the commission in mid-summer."
Steiner's letter continued, "I have received agreements from all parties with respect to this schedule: Tom Pierce, on behalf of Movants Maui Tomorrow Foundation Inc., South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth and Daniel Kanehele; Bryan Yee on behalf of the Office of Planning of the State of Hawai'i; and Michael Hopper on behalf of the Department of Planning and Permitting, County of Maui."
The LUC clerk confirmed that the matter is likely to be on the LUC's August agenda and said that those interested in following it in more detail can find all the filings at the LUC Website, where it is officially known as docket number A94-706 Ka'ono'ulu Ranch (boundary amendment). (Visit luc.hawa-ii.gov/pending-petitions-2/boundary-amendments/a94-706-kauonoulu-ranch.)
In the meantime, there has been one new appointment to the nine-member commission and at least two more changes are anticipated before the matter is heard this summer.
In December, Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Aaron Mahi as an "interim" at-large cultural resources board member. Mahi is filling the remainder of Commissioner Jaye Napua Makua of Maui's term, which expires in June of this year. Mahi has also been nominated to a new four-year term beginning on July 1. He is "interim" until he is confirmed by the Senate.
Other changes in the composition of the board could include the at-large seat held by Kyle Chock, commissioner and former chair; it expires on June 30. Commissioner Ronald Heller of O'ahu now chairs the commission. His term is also up on June 30.
Commissioner Matsumura from Hawai'i Island was reappointed to a second term, which runs through the end of 2015.
Sheldon Biga continues to represent the island of Maui; his term finishes the end of June 2015.
Asked for comment, Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie responded by email. She wrote, "Maui Tomorrow Foundation submitted comments on the EIS Prep Notice for Pi'ilani Promenade last fall and will further comment as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is made available.
"The EIS must be completed and submitted to state Land Use Commission prior to the hearing on the Motion to Amend, which will happen no sooner than late August 2014.
"We remain concerned about various issues, including the need for a community plan amendment; connectivity with the planned Kihei High School; drainage impacts and clarity on a water source for the project; and the need for an updated traffic study. We hope that Pi'ilani Promenade's EIS will adequately address these issues and other community concerns."
Mark Hyde, representing South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth, said he had no comment at this time.
The Kihei Community Association (KCA) has also monitored the ongoing litigation. Asked for comment, KCA President Mike Moran replied by email:
"After KCA's last meeting with Sarofim back in September, we issued our comments publicly and directly to Sarofim via U.S. mail, as currently shown on the KCA Website (www.gokihei.org/development-project-review/kca-again-meets-with-piilani-promenade-on-Tuesday)."
For the basic back story, see the Maui Weekly, Aug. 16, 2012, article at www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/510203/The-Story-Behind-the-Story.html?nav=13.