The Maui County Department of Housing and Human Concerns submitted a draft environmental assessment last month for a 64-unit, multifamily affordable housing project next to the Kulamalu Shopping Center in Pukalani.
The Kulamalu affordable housing project would consist of seven two-story residential buildings, 128 parking stalls and a community center with laundry facilities, a maintenance storage area and a leasing office.
The project would be built on more than 4 acres of county-owned land and is estimated to cost $9 million, part of which would come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Construction is slated to start this fall, the draft document said.
"A large and growing demand for affordable housing exists because a substantial portion of all (Maui County) households pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing," the report said.
More than 83 percent, or about 7,606 households in the Makawao-Pukalani-Kula area, paid 30 percent or more of their income for housing in 2011, according to a state housing planning study cited in the report. By definition, affordable housing should be priced below 30 percent of median area household income, according to federal guidelines.
County officials hope the Kulamalu affordable housing project would supply homes to offset the island's increasing population and demand for housing.
Available unit types would range from one-bedroom, one-bathroom to two-bedrooms, one-bathroom units, varying in size from 592 to 812 square feet. The majority of the units would have private lanais.
The proposed project is west of Kula Highway and bounded in the north by Aapueo Parkway and Ohia Ku Street to the west. Ohia Ku Street, a two-lane roadway, is the only street directly accessible to the project.
Two archaeological studies conducted revealed several significant historical sites documented within the Kulamalu commercial subdivision, although the State Historic Preservation Division said in a subsequent report that none of the documented historical sites are located on the project site. To mitigate the possibility of damaging unrecorded historical remains, an archaeological monitor will be present to observe ground-altering activities such as trenching and site grading, the report said.
Endangered species including the Hawaiian hoary bat, the Blackburn's sphinx moth, the Hawaiian petrel, Newell's shearwater and Hawaiian goose (nene) may be impacted by the project, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Services. County officials said they would work with the federal agency to mitigate any potential impacts on endangered species.
Public comments will be accepted until March 10 and may be submitted to Jo-Ann Ridao, Department of Housing and Human Concerns, 2200 Main St., Suite 54, Wailuku 96793.
* Eileen Chao can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.