Since we blogged about the Olowalu Town Project back in November, we wanted to give our readers an update on the outcome. The plan included 636 acres with around 1,500 homes that would have been added to the West Maui real estate tally. The project was going to cost around $465 million. According to recent news, however, the plan has been scrapped.
The developers recently informed the Hawaii state Land Use Commission that the project won’t be moving forward after the commission’s rejection of their final environmental impact statement. This may have had something to do with the many voices in the community that were concerned about the general impact on the environment in Olowalu, but with a special focus on the remarkable coral reefs located along the shoreline. Olowalu is home to some of Maui’s most impressive reef ecosystems, and a big project like that would have been sure to have an impact due to factors like runoff and erosion, among others.
Developer Bill Frampton apparently withdrew the project despite efforts that began back in 2005. Large scale projects like this can be extremely lucrative for developers when the process proceeds smoothly, but when they fail, a great deal of time and money are lost, so this can’t be an easy time for them, even if the community’s protection of the environment comes first.
The project would have included 750 affordable West Maui homes, which is a plus for Maui residents with lower income, but there will be future projects in more suitable locations that will be required to provide a percentage of affordable homes too.
The 636 acres of agricultural land are owned by Olowalu Elua Associates and Olowalu Ekolu LLC., and according to Frampton they are considering other options for the use of this acreage in the future. Hopefully in time they will collaborate on a plan that will be both productive and environmentally sound.