Proposed airport hotel on Maui awaiting word on moratorium

Nov 26 – KAHULUI – A new draft environmental review of a proposed $54 million, 200-room hotel adjacent to Kahului Airport that would cater to business travelers has been released, expecting few negative impacts but comes amid enthusiastic debate about Maui about excess tourism.

The proposed Kanaha hotel by RD Olson Development will be built on 5.2 acres of vacant land in Maui Business Park II, according to a draft environmental impact statement released Tuesday by the state’s Office of Planning and Sustainable Development, prompting public comment for a 45-day period. The developer in Newport Beach, California also built the Courtyard by Marriott Kahului, which opened in 2012 down the street from where the new project is located, if approved.

The Wailuku-Kahului area is the island’s civic, commercial, healthcare, and transportation hub, but apart from Marriott’s property, much older Maui Beach hotel, and Maui Seaside hotel in Port Kahului, there are limited options for unenthusiastic travelers outside of the resort areas in West and South Maui.

An EIS draft for the Kanaha Hotel, previously called the Windward Hotel, acknowledges the community’s concerns about the effects of tourism on local lifestyles, traffic, natural and cultural resources, and asserts that the accommodation is designed primarily for business travelers and that “only a small percentage of guests are expected to be Leisure travelers.

According to the document, the project corresponds to the desired uses of the airport area and will provide significant economic benefits. By providing housing to support commercial and commercial activities in the Central District, the hotel will advance Maui’s long-stated goal of diversifying the island’s economy while reducing the demand for unlicensed vacation rentals, the report said.

The EIS project said the hotel could reduce the number of cars on Maui roads between Kahului Airport and resort areas, as business travelers would be able to stay in the central area, close to where they do business.

The report noted that the proposed Kanaha Hotel will also provide adequate accommodation for airline crews, military personnel, youth sports teams and kamina visiting family.

The Kahului Hotel, and other pending projects in Maui, could face a major roadblock if Maui County pays a “pause” on the construction and expansion of a new hotel. Mayor Michael Victorino objected to a decision to freeze building permits for visitors residing in South and West Maui approved by the county council in July. Earlier this month, the Council’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee approved a new proposal for an island-wide suspension of new temporary accommodation units for two years or until the Council can issue recommendations of the Tourism Management Inquiry Committee, whichever comes first.

The procedure still needs the full approval of the Board.

The EIS draft describes the Kanaha hotel as being in the mid-level price range of $251 to $500 per night. The hotel will have 80 extended-stay guestrooms, each with a kitchenette but without an oven, and 120 standard guestrooms distributed among the buildings one-story, two-story, and four-story in height. Features include a lounge, lounge, dining area serving breakfast in the morning, bobo during the day and evening, variety shop, meeting rooms, business center, laundry, fitness center, pool with spa and BBQ area.

“Features and amenities are limited because the hotel is designed to accommodate business travelers, not leisure travelers,” the report said.

If the project continues on the right track, construction will begin in 2023 with a goal of opening in 2025.

The proposed hotel would have no significant environmental impact and negligible contribution to the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a climate change assessment prepared for the EIS project.

The hotel’s construction and operation will include “green” building methods and energy-efficient design, including photovoltaic solar panels; light-colored roofing membrane that reflects solar energy and heat; window tinting to reduce the penetration of ultraviolet and infrared rays; low-flow plumbing fixtures and fittings; High efficiency cooling systems and electric vehicle charging stations.

Because the hotel will be built on land that was once part of a 19th-century sugar cane plantation, the EIS draft states that the project is unlikely to have significant impacts on cultural resources or practices.

Among the approvals needed to move the project forward are an amendment to the Wailuku-Kahului community plan and change of the county zoning from light industry to hotel, and a special management area use permit. Additionally, the developer is proposing to modify the community plan’s definition of “hotel” to allow kitchens in individual units.

KANAHA Hotel Proposal Public comments on a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Kanaha Hotel in Kahului are due for delivery on January 7. Send comments to: – Land Use Commission: Scott Derrickson, call 808-587-3921; email; Postal Mail 235 S. Beretania St., Suite 406, Honolulu, HI 96804 – R.D. Olson: 520 Newport Center Drive, Suite 600, Newport Beach, CA 92660; Anthony Wrzosek, 949-271-1100,—Chris Hart & Co.: 220 Main St., Suite 527, Wailuku, HI 96793; Brett Davis, 808-242-1955, Read the EIS draft at .

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