Affordable Workforce Housing rules are being used to exploit vulnerable lands

Developers are able to use Affordable Housing rules and “Pro affordable housing sentiment”, which are being used as tools to exploit vulnerable and environmentally sensitive lands. Kihei’s last remaining open spaces have remained untouched until now because they were the most challenging and least desirable lands to develop. For example, lands on streamways, gulches, flood zones, and wetlands. These lands had the SMA, CZM, and other Zoning protections, etc. This made them more difficult and expensive to develop. However, by waiving all of the requirements such as completing Environmental Impact Statements, etc. using Affordable housing rules, developers can now request to waive/bypass most of these protections, requirements, limitations, and fees. Affordable Housing rules are being abused and overused, and the Planning Department is being overly lenient on affordable and workforce projects, so the most sensitive lands are being compromised. There are affordable housing developments pending for all of Kihei’s Gulches, streambeds, and remaining wetlands. All of these sensitive lands are being accessed through the affordable housing process. And it is contributing to the rapid loss of Kihei’s last remaining open spaces and natural areas.