WAILUKU - The Maui Planning Commission accepted a final environmental assessment Tuesday for CMBY Investment's proposed 86-acre, $20 million heavy industrial subdivision in Puunene.
The panel also made a finding of no significant environmental impact and did not require the developer to do a more detailed environmental impact statement.
The commission's determination precedes the project's requests for land use measures from the state Land Use Commission and the Maui County Council. The land is in agricultural designations and will need a state district boundary amendment from agricultural to urban from the state commission and a community plan amendment and a change of zoning from the council.
The final environmental assessment will be forwarded to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control, which will post the document online and solicit public comments.
Tuesday's presentation to the commission followed the panel's June 26 review of an earlier draft document. During the June review, commission members had concerns about security at the project site, wanted reassurances that water utilities would be managed properly in the future and urged the developers to encourage alternative energy generation and conservation at the site.
On Tuesday, project planning consultant Glenn Tadaki of Chris Hart & Partners reported that all of the commission's concerns were addressed in the revised environmental assessment. For example, outdoor lighting, fencing and gates would be installed to deter and prevent thefts, vandalism and loitering, he said.
Commission member Warren Shibuya said he was concerned about removal of underground water for the project while not returning water to recharge Central Maui's aquifer. Tadaki said the project would take that into consideration.
The commission will have another chance to review the project and propose conditions when it returns for review for a community plan amendment and change of zoning.
Tadaki told commission members that the developer would revise the project's change of zoning to seek the county's new M-3 industrial zoning, which was created for purely industrial uses such as energy systems, power plants, major utility facilities, landfills, solid waste processing and disposal, biofuel product manufacturing and recycling processing.
Commission member Wayne Hedani later jokingly referred to the new zoning as "super bad ass industrial."
Although the Pu'unene Heavy Industrial Subdivision has not begun marketing for prospective tenants, one of the foreseen uses of the new project would be for a construction and demolition debris landfill. Such a landfill in Maalaea has only about two years remaining in its life span, and a new facility is needed by the island's construction industry, according to the project's environmental assessment.
The project would be located off Mokulele Highway, four miles south of Kahului and three miles north of Kihei. The site would be accessed via the highway, Kamaaina Road and private roads owned by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.
Plans call for subdividing the property to create 28 lots, 9 acres for a drainage retention basin and 11 acres for an internal roadway system. The property is vacant agricultural land, except for a 2-acre radio antenna site. That facility's lease expires Dec. 31, 2013, with no plans for renewal.
The site is within the proposed urban-growth boundaries in the proposed Maui Island Plan and within the Pulehunui planned growth area.
According to the environmental assessment, there's a shortage of areas zoned for heavy industrial use in Central Maui. If the project is successful in winning state and county approvals, it would be the first purely heavy industrial development in Central Maui in more than a decade, the document said.
No residential or commercial development is near the proposed heavy industrial subdivision site, which is near the Central Maui baseyard, Maui Raceway Park and the Hawaiian Cement quarry.
Tadaki reiterated that the landowner and then the subdivision owners' association would be responsible for common areas such as interior roads, water and wastewater systems. Subdivision owners will be responsible for the development of their own lots.
The state Department of Health would need to approve plans for water and wastewater infrastructure and would continue to regulate those systems.
The project's land use and subdivision approval process is estimated to take four to five years, with construction expected to begin in 2016. The project is expected to generate 65 direct and indirect jobs during construction and 142 jobs after it's completed in 10 years.
The project site was part of the Puunene Naval Air Station during World War II. More recently, the property was used for hog farming and scrap metal storage. Those uses ended in 2007.
In other action, commission members approved requests for state land use special use permits for two Haiku bed-and-breakfast operations on agriculturally zoned land. Those were applications from Jennifer Ely for a permit to operate the Haiku Anuenue Bed and Breakfast on an acre at 544 Kaiapa Place and from Paul Gotel for a permit to operate the Dragonfly Cottage Bed and Breakfast on 2 acres at 1075 Nanihoku Place.
Neighbors raised no objections to either business, neither of which was located within 500 feet of another bed-and-breakfast operation.
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.