- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Developers have withdrawn plans to build 1,500 homes in a west Maui community, a decision that comes months after state officials rejected the project’s environmental assessment.

Project developer Bill Frampton informed the state Land Use Commission of his decision in an April 4 letter. He noted that the project, which has been in the works since 2005, had become “extremely expensive,” The Maui News reports (https://bit.ly/1Sk046r).

Frampton said Monday pulling the plug on the proposed Olowalu Town was very difficult and is “very unfortunate” for Maui families. The development included 750 affordable homes as well as stores, schools and parks. It would have been built on about 636 acres of agricultural land.

The project had been included in urban and rural growth boundaries by the General Plan Advisory Committee, the Maui Planning Commission and the Maui County Council in 2012.

“We believed there was an opportunity to demonstrate how we are capable of changing the way in which Maui has been developed for too long, especially as we have watched the destructive pattern of senseless urban and suburban sprawl grow outwards,” said Frampton.

Plans for the development had been put on hold in December after the commission turned down the environmental impact statement. Officials cited shortfalls with information regarding potential impacts on traffic, cultural resources and archaeological sites.

Albert Perez, executive director of Maui Tomorrow, which opposed the project, said the development was inappropriate for the area.

“The community really came out,” Perez said of those who spoke against the proposal during meetings before the Land Use Commission.

Frampton said previously that plans were developed through a community-based process initiated in 2005 with residents from all over Maui. He also said developers would have made protecting reefs a priority and planned to eliminate dangerous traffic conditions.

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

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