Chair of the Smart Growth Interim Task Force, Rep. Sharon Har, put together an impressive discussion group last week, including the 4 county planning directors - Kathy Sokugawa representing Henry Eng from Honolulu, Ian Costa from Kauai, Jeff Hunt from Maui and Chris Yuen from the Big Island. The goal of the task force is to develop legislation that supports smart growth principles, such as improve land use, create more open space, compact urban areas, develop more affordable housing, and decrease infrastructure cost.
Rep. Joe Bertram is not on the task force, but participated in the meeting. His viewpoint in support of the Wailea 670 project, also known as Honua'ula appeared in the Maui News on 7/22. The project has come under attack from groups such as Maui Tomorrow and Save Makena. Maui has the highest median price for a single family home of any county in the state. He warns that while many people oppose development, they may not be aware of the consequences. Bertram writes, "Stopping development actually pushes home prices even higher and widens the gap between haves and have-nots. Instead of simply opposing development, it would be more constructive to ask ourselves: 'What kind of development does Maui need?'"