Conflict crops up over rural district boundaries

WAILUKU – More than a handful of residents and property owners of Anuhea Place near the Kulamalu Town Center in Pukalani asked County Council committee members Monday to place their land in a rural growth boundary so that they could freely put up homes for themselves and their children.

But representatives of both the Makawao and Kula community associations as well as other Upcountry residents were concerned about changing any existing Upcountry agricultural subdivisions to the higher-density rural designation. They were concerned that the lots could possibly be subdivided into smaller lots that would result in more homes, significant infrastructure impacts and additional costs to taxpayers.

Changing the designation of agricultural subdivisions to rural could “establish a precedent” that could be a “detriment to the county,” said Mike Foley, vice president of the Makawao Community Association and a former Maui County planning director.

But Tom Foster, a resident of Anuhea Place who also has a landscaping business on his property, said it makes sense to put Anuhea Place into a rural growth boundary because the area is adjacent to the town center and Kamehameha Schools Maui.

One of 10 people testifying in favor the change, Foster added that there is a gulch on both sides of the subdivision, so growth will not impact surrounding areas.

The Hale O Kaula Church also is in the subdivision and many members of the church testified Monday that the rural designation would make it easier to expand the church if needed. The church has faced numerous governmental hurdles because of its land designation and has even engaged in legal action.

Nearly 50 people testified before the Maui County Council’s General Plan Committee