Published in The Maui News, July 17, 2016
By MIKE WHITE, for The Maui News
Now in its fourth year of operation, the Office of the County Auditor is continuing its charter-mandated work to independently conduct performance and financial audits of Maui County operations and policies.
Audit reports by County Auditor Lance Taguchi and his team are on the county website. The office’s first self-initiated project was an examination of the treasury function of the Department of Finance. That was followed by an audit of the county’s practices for road resurfacing, improvements and maintenance.
Taguchi submitted his plan of audits proposed to be conducted during fiscal year 2017 via County Communication 16-144, which was on Friday’s Maui County Council meeting agenda for formal receipt by the council. In its next round of self-initiated audits, the office intends to make findings and recommendations on county employee travel and the inventory of affordable housing in the County of Maui.
Friday’s council agenda also included County Communication 16-147, by which Finance Director Danny Agsalog transmitted a proposed resolution to approve the acquisition of four lots, comprising approximately 267.7 acres on the coast in Haiku near the “Jaws” surf spot at Peahi. The council has budgeted $9.5 million for the purchase.
The resolution approving the Peahi land acquisition is likely to be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee later this summer.
The council is continuing its work on land-use approvals for the redesign of the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei. As proposed by Maui R&T Partners, a series of bills approving zoning changes and community plan amendments would facilitate mixed-use development of 406 acres located mauka of Piilani Highway and adjacent to Lipoa Parkway. The stated intent is to create “opportunities for a broader range of desirable knowledge based and emerging industries” and provide “diverse housing options.”
According to Land Use Committee Report 16-109, which was received by the council on Friday, “Phase 1 of the project will include approximately 750 residential units and 700,000 square feet of commercial and industrial floor area, while Phase 2 is expected to include approximately 500 residential units and 1,300,000 square feet of commercial and industrial floor area.”
Build-out of both phases of the project is expected to take nearly 20 years.
Via General Communication 16-6, which was also on Friday’s agenda, state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi provided the council with a status report on the new high school planned for Kihei. The school is slated to be constructed on 77 acres north of the Maui Research & Technology Park, across from the Piilani Villages residential subdivision, based on a zoning approval granted by the council two years ago.
The Legislature appropriated $37.5 million for design and construction of the new high school in the state’s current fiscal year budget. If construction proceeds as envisioned, the first students could be enrolled in 2018.
The Kihei high school is projected to have an eventual student body of 1,650.
A&B Properties reported on the status of its Kihei residential project via General Communication 16-7. The development, known as Kamalani, is also sited mauka of Piilani Highway, near the Kaiwahine Street intersection in north Kihei.
Kamalani is designed as a planned community, with the first increment being an affordable-housing component including 600 condominiums. A&B expects the project to later include single-family homes to be sold at market prices.
* Mike White is chair of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.