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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Maui Council decision aids developers, preservationists

By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui County Bureau

WAILUKU, Maui — The Maui County Council gave final approval yesterday to a compromise Moloka'i Community Plan that leaves 75 acres of the Kaluako'i Resort earmarked for hotel and multifamily development.

The decision will give Moloka'i Ranch, which plans to take over the Kaluako'i Resort, the option of developing the area without seeking a community plan amendment or filing an environmental impact statement.

On its face, yesterday's action amounted to a rejection of a recommendation by the council's Planning Committee to redesignate the shoreline land to open space.

But it was Planning Committee Chairwoman Charmaine Tavares who introduced the compromise, adding language within the plan to protect the archaeological sites. She said she wanted to create "a win-win situation'' in which business investment and historic preservation can co-exist.

Those who favored the open space proposal said the land has many important archaeological sites and it would be inappropriate to build hotels or condominiums in the area.

But others argued that throwing out the hotel and multifamily designations would discourage investment on an island hit hard by unemployment and high welfare rates.

The plan was adopted on final reading by a 6-2 vote, with Council Chairman Patrick Kawano of Moloka'i voting with the majority after being absent on first reading Dec. 7, when a 5-3 bare majority had advanced the proposal.

Council members Jo Anne Johnson and Wayne Nishiki voted against the plan. Dain Kane, who previously voted no, was absent.