Paia Bypass Updates & Discussion Forum

I thought a forum where we could all share information with everyone instead of just me would help get the information out faster. I have been researching and receiving so much information it is hard to keep up, so let's see if this makes it easier. Please help me correct anything that may not be exactly accurate. Some is from people remembering things; this gives great clues as to where to look for confirmation. So please don't hesitate to offer whatever you have heard or think may shed light. Comments are at the bottom of the page.

  • At the Apr 5, 2018 PRAG meeting at Kainoa Senior Center, it was obvious that all members of the Paia Relief Route Advisory Group (PRAG) were frustrated and angry that DOT had chosen a route that was not even one of the options they had discussed over the years. I was shocked to learn that SSFM did not already have an agreement with the owner of the 339 acres (EC Paia, LLC). Cheryl Soon of SSFM said, "There's always eminent domain." She then said to me, "If you don't like our project, we can just scrap the entire plan and you can start over with your own project." I replied, "OK, I'm not sure what that entails, but let me think about it." I knew I'd be meeting with her the next morning and wanted to see what the SSFM stance would be after my presentation before I came to any conclusions.
  • At the Apr 6, 2018 meeting with Kuau Bayview, after explaining why the DOT-proposed project was completely unacceptable and Sunnyside Rd would be perfect, I gave Cheryl Soon & DOT four opportunities to switch their focus from the Poni Place route to the Sunnyside Road route and work with the community. Cheryl refused four times. I reminded her of what she had said the night before and stated that the community did in fact want her to scrap her project and let the north shore people take over. Some residents contested the cultural site designations which come into play under 4F rules if federal funding is involved. We don't care about the funding; we'll get it somehow.
  • 249 Baldwin Ave at the corner of Poni Place is reputed to be Patsy Mink's childhood home. Born Patsy Matsu Takemoto on December 6, 1927, in Paia, Maui. An Oahu film crew came about 10 years ago and asked the owner (Aguera) for permission to film and take photos of the house for a Patsy Mink documentary called Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority. The Paia Post Office was named after Patsy Mink, a very important person in Hawaii and the USA. I'll confirm with the State Historical Society re the house.
  • 249 Baldwin was advertised as "This historic Paia property..." and sold to Jesse Brill of Oakland, CA in 2015 for $750,000. Jesse Brill also owns a $5M house on Kuau Beach Pl. He made some kind of secret deal with SSFM to have the bypass go right though the historic 249 Baldwin property. Current market value is estimated at $1,061,062.
  • 249 and 269 Baldwin Ave are considered one property. 269 was built in 2005 but 249 was built in 1939; therefore, under the 4F rules, DOT is forbidden to put a highway near this property let alone running right through it.
  • At the Feb 5, 2018 meeting at PCC, Jesse Brill stood up and offered $1 Million dollars of his own money to get "the project" moving ahead and encouraged others to contribute as well.
  • Rod Antone, Communications Director for the Mayor, told me on Apr 10, 2018 that Jesse Brill had told him that the residents of Poni Place were "all for it" [the bypass]. Jupiter Nielsen who lives at 47 Poni Pl replied: "Not a single person on Poni Place was informed!!!! Who are these people? Unbelievable that someone would say that we are for it. 100% of the homes on this little street have children... we learned in a back channel way when the meeting was one hour away. The next day there were flags on the road and that's how others learned. We had to tell our landlords and they didn't know about it. If that's what someone said then they weren't being truthful..." Even the people who live in the house to be demolished had not heard a word about the bypass coming through their living room.
  • The Foronda house at 49 Poni Place is over 100 years old. Four generations of cane workers were born and raised in that house which is extremely significant as pertains to the history of the Paia Mill & plantation life. This also would trigger the 4F rules that were used to eliminate Sunnyside Rd. Surely DOT would have to be equally stringent with the cultural testing of all potential routes. These homes are about 100 yards closer to the proposed highway than Paia Mill is to Paia Mill Rd; therefore, Poni Place would be even less prudent and feasible than Paia Mill Rd.
  • The Poni Place route would pass 630 feet from Kuau Bayview. No one in Kuau Bayview wants to be downwind of the truck fumes, noise, and light pollution of a highway right behind our neighborhood.
  • 4F restrictions apply only to federally-funded projects, 6e for state projects.
  • The $45.5M cost for the Poni Place route does NOT include the cost of buying the land or demolishing the house (!).
  • HC&S and A&B have always been excellent neighbors to Kuau Bayview and to Maui in general. It is my firm belief that the people of the north shore of Maui working together with A&B, the Mayor, Senator Kalani English, and representative Lynn DeCoitte, can get the proper Paia Bypass planned and built along the Sunnyside route to Maliko within 3 years, and maybe even usable before that. It's unfortunate that so much time and money was spent getting nowhere so far, but now we must unite and start working in earnest toward our common goal.