Why your rent is so high (If you live in West Maui)

You may be following (perhaps in The Maui News) a disagreement between the county planning director, Will Spence, and one of the former directors, Mike Foley, about how detailed the county’s general plan should be.

Well, when I was a reporter, I covered the creation of the current plan; and I have watched the gestation of its replacement.

The plans generally try to look ahead 20 years, and to lay out restrictions and allowances for the next 10 years.

The old general plan took 8 or 9 years to pass, so the 10 years was mostly up before anybody knew what was in it.

What wasn’t in it was much provision for new residential districts in West Maui. As a result, rents went way up. Several hundred million dollars were thereby transferred from the pockets of Maui workers to landlords (many of them not on Maui).

Before this gets corrected, if it ever does, the transfer will top a billion dollars.

That’s right. County dilatoriness will have moved over $1,000,000,000 from the pockets of county taxpayers to other pockets.

The landlords have been very happy (except for the gamblers who thought the gravy train had no caboose and overleveraged).

The current attempt to create a new general plan – called the Maui Island Plan and done under new rules since the old rules didn’t work – is years behind schedule. Not 8 or 9 years yet, but it won’t be long.

Earth to Spence. Earth to Foley. It doesn’t matter what details are in a plan that has not been enacted.

The problem is not with the details. The problem is with completion.