Maui’s Views are Disappearing

Maui is losing a lot more than its land to development, we are also losing our beautiful views. 

Our magnificent views and viewscapes, that many of us take for granted, are disappearing at a rapid rate.  Badly Planned Construction is being allowed to block off and privatize some of Maui’s best views. This is happening to residents and to the public as well.  Many people who do not own a home or have a home with a view will see most of Maui when driving along our public streets, especially our scenic highways.  In recent years we have seen some terrible examples of large housing developments and hotels being built right up to the edge of our highways and roadways where they block views. In a few years, some of our most scenic roads and highways will become Canyons of Concrete with no views of our majestic oceans and mountains.  Real estate Developers are using every advantage to maximize the square footage of their developments.  For example, hotels are being built upon high mounds of earth that rise almost vertically from the roadsides, elevating three-story or more developments high above the roadways, where they block the views of oceans and mountains. 

We need better, responsible planning because this can be avoided.  New construction should be directed to have a low-rise closest to roadways to protect public viewscapes. 

The public needs to keep the pressure on the planning department and Developers to build in a more environmentally responsible manner and incorporate designs that protect the viewscapes. 

You can see some dramatic examples of this in Wailea, along Wailea Alanui Drive, and Makena Alaniu, and the housing projects that have been and are being built along the Honoapiilani highway between Waikapu and Wailuku.

Lost Views in Wailea
Lost Views in Wailea
Overdevelopment is destroying views in Wailea

Degradation of Scenic Resources (Source: Maui County General Plan 2030)

Scenic views are closely tied to residents’ quality of life and the island’s sense of place. Maui possesses unique, rare, and significant views, any of which have no equal. Many views and landscapes are closely tied to Hawaiian culture, folklore, and history. 

Maui’s spectacular views are a driving force behind the island’s thriving visitor industry. Thus, scenic-resource preservation is an important part of protecting the health of Maui’s economy.

Within highly urbanized corridors, there are exceptional and important views. These views are especially important because they provide visual relief and enhance the quality of the built environment, thereby making urban areas more livable.

2.5.1.a Protect views to include, but not be limited to, Haleakalā, `Īao Valley, the Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui Mountains), Pu`u Ō`la`i, Kaho`olawe, Molokini, Moloka`i, and Lāna`i, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, sea stacks, the Pacific Ocean, and significant water features, ridgelines, and landforms.