More gated communities for Wailea

More gated communities for Wailea

At a time when house prices are rising and affordable houses are in short supply, and many local people are being evicted or losing their homes. A large Canadian developer is buying up ancestral land in Wailea and trying to build 7 exclusive gated communities for Mainland millionaires.

Local people are upset over these proposed projects, as they are being built on important lands that have traditional uses and cultural significance, and archeological artifacts. These developments could destroy habitats for native fauna, and they are being built on limited watershed lands.

They use massive amounts of water. They are projected to use massive amounts of Maui’s precious drinking water, and create drainage issues, and pollution. This project is expected to use 36,000 up to 54,000 gallons a day of potable (drinking) water,  and produce something like 20 thousands of gallons of wastewater daily into the local treatment system, which has been linked to ocean pollution.

These 3-4 million dollar homes are forcing housing prices to rise, which makes home-ownership more difficult for locals. These projects are a burden on the local infrastructure, like roads, and public amenities. They do not provide any housing for workforce in the area, and they cause more pollution that can harm watersheds and even impact stream life.

The community is upset and have been testifying against these projects.

The first phase of this project is called Wailea SF-S. It is a 57 luxury-home, gated community project, that is sited on land that has at least 12 or more archeological sites. Cultural practitioners and archeological experts in the community are speaking up, but they developers are doing everything they can do to push this project through.

One thing that “appears to be happening” is that the developer has separated their 7-resort plan into smaller projects to be reviewed individually, in an attempt to avoid triggering an EIS (environmental Impact statement). Separating related projects to make them appear separate in not legal, so this needs to be looked into.

The developers admit that these homes are for Mainlanders and not for the local people. They estimate that 90 percent of homes will go to wealthy mainlanders. Although that number will likely be higher.

The original plan for the Wailea area, was to have a mixture of resorts hotels and a minimum of 30 percent workforce housing. There was meant to be a mixture of home prices, and “an integrated community”. Workers in the resorts were meant to be able to live in the area where they worked, and use an internal transportation system to go to and from work, and not impact island traffic.

Unfortunately this dream never happened.

Workforce housing: The president of the Wailea community association said that there is currently  “Zero workforce housing in Wailea”. And that the workers he spoke to said they like living upcountry or in other areas of the island. He said of the first 100 workforce houses they built, only one was even sold to a local. Presumably the others went to vacationers and investors. And this has been the pattern ever since.

The Wailea Development Plan, never did an EIS in its 50+ years. And it is 90 percent completed already. There is a need for an EIS now as massive amounts of land and Maui’s finite water supply, are being utilized in these projects, and the impacts from this scale of development will significant. A significant environmental impact is necessary to trigger the EIS. 

People are speaking up, and testifying on these projects. Social media and local new are sharing this story, and word is spreading in the community.  It is not a done deal yet, but there is only a few more chances to come out and testify. People are also writing to the planning department and sharing their testimony.

The community needs to fight for these types of issues otherwise the only voiced the Maui county planning department hears in the voice of these Foreign Developers.

So if you live here and care about Maui, and you want to keep local in their houses and on this land, then it is time to get involved.

Aloha.