- Associated Press - Monday, December 21, 2015

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Maui County officials are seeking a private developer to build 400-unit affordable housing project on the island of Lanai.

County Department of Housing and Human Concerns Director Carol Reimann said at a Thursday meeting the department is drafting a proposal request, which is expected to be completed early next year, The Maui News reported (http://bit.ly/1S3R8oB).

The $30 million project, originally proposed in 2009, was stalled in August by Mayor Alan Arakawa’s administration. Arakawa said the project site was too far from existing infrastructure and was concerned that the installation of sewer and water lines alone would cost $7.5 million.

The project was originally planned to include 239 single-family residential lots and 173 multi-family units on 73 acres of land.

Councilman Riki Hokama said the affordable housing project is necessary for the island, which has faced economic hardship and layoffs. Both of Lanai’s major hotels, a large source of employment and revenue, have been closed for several months due to renovations.

“I think Lanai has earned its way to be considered for this project,” said Hokama, who holds the Lanai residency seat. “We’ve worked hard to show we are willing to be responsible. When we’ve asked for money, we’ve asked frugally and responsibly.”

Arakawa said he would consider funding for the project as long as some changes were made.

“I’m willing to commit some funding to be spent on Lanai if we can cut the cost of the infrastructure,” said Arakawa, adding that the administration also has discussed moving the location closer to infrastructure to save money.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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