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This Little Known Zoning Secret is One Reason Buyers Love Wailuku

Did you know that you can operate a B&B, or a Boutique Hotel in certain areas of Wailuku without requiring a permit?* (Mouth drops open, eyes bug out beyond belief!) Not many people do, but if your property falls within the boundaries of the Wailuku Redevelopment Area, there are a diverse range of business opportunities available to you.

Wailuku’s Executive “Sweet” Hotel

In dinner conversations when the subject of world famous cities comes up, I always love to listen as guests pipe in with their favorites: Paris, Moscow, Budapest. When it’s my turn, I always love taking the opportunity to blurt out “Wailuku.” It gets a few laughs, and I’m partially being facetious, but partially not.

I’ve always loved the raw authentic nature of Wailuku – a town with a civil purpose, not yet appropriated and re-purposed to appeal to tourists, and still full of classic Hawaiian architecture. I wonder if Budapest can boast that Frank Sinatra played in its main street theater? (Yes, it’s true that Frank Sinatra played the Iao Theatre.)

I’m not alone in my love affair with Wailuku – the planning department also fancies this beautiful hillside town, and in their efforts to support the Wailuku renaissance, have come up with the Wailuku Redevelopment Area:

Wailuku Redevelopment Area – The Little Known Zoning Secret

As part of a plan to revitalize the core of Wailuku Town, a segment of Wailuku was designated as the “Wailuku Redevelopment Area” with the specific purpose and intent of the following:

  1. Preserve Wailuku’s Historic Character
  2. Allow for new development that complements and is compatible with Wailuku’s historic character
  3. Improve the streetscape to make Wailuku a pedestrian-friendly environment

The comprehensive plan lays out design guidelines and offers zoning and construction leniency in certain key areas – all in an effort to preserve the aesthetic charm and architectural characteristics that we love about our old Hawaiian towns, and in an effort to prevent the Californication of these culturally important places. (Strip malls, ummm…no thanks!)

Additional Information

If you’d like to learn more, here are the  design guidelines, and information on those favorable zoning allowances – one of which is that B&Bs or Boutique Hotels may be operated on certain streets without requiring special permits. (*It’s always a good idea to check with the planning department for up to date information on permissible uses.)

If you are interested in purchasing property in Wailuku, I’d love to help you find the perfect house or business, and if you’d like to speak to the planner in charge of the Wailuku Redevelopment Area, please shoot me an email and I can put you two in touch.

Liam S. Ball R(S)  
liam@hawaiilife.com  
dwellonmaui.com

Hotel Wailuku – A Hipster Hideaway

The pictures below are from “Hotel Wailuku,” which is no longer in operation – a hipster hideaway that recently sold for $315,000.

Barn Door with Netflix Machine (Top), Hotel Wailuku Kitchen (Left) & Concrete Floors (Right)

Yes, this is the LOBBY people

Gotta have a suitcase table, right?

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Lin ter Horst

February 4, 2015

Hi Liam,

I love your blog. I’m a big fan of classical architecture and have a subscription to the Dwell magazine.

My husband Chris and I have been scouting neighborhoods on Maui for over a year, looking for a potential location for our fruit candy business. Our business falls under the category of “food processing”, as it entail taking fresh raw fruits to make fruit purees, and cooking down the purees with sugar and a few other ingredients to turn them into our fruit candies. Our process is similar to the traditional fruit jam/jelly business, at least the first few steps are.

We have been interested in the Wailuku market because of the beautiful plantation era architecture, and to be perfectly honest, the relatively lower rent.

Your “favorable zoning allowances” link is for the WAILUKU REDEVELOPMENT AREA ZONING AND DEVELOPMENT CODE (WRAZ&D SEPTEMBER 2002). According to this document, “Food Processing” is defined as “Facilities for the preparation of food products for distribution to retail, wholesale and eating establishments. Examples include bakeries, refrigerated storage, canning, bottling, and packaging plants, noodle manufacturing and coffee roasting grinding.” Under section 30.03.030 Permitted uses, for the use purpose of “Food Processing – All activities shall take place within completely enclosed buildings. Noise, odor, and other emission levels must not impact neighboring land users.”

We’d much rather the code spells out what the acceptable noise, odor, and other emission levels are acceptable for the use purpose of food processing, so that we can figure out if it makes sense for us to further investigate. The way the code is written currently – “must not impact neighboring land users”, leads us to conclude that if a neighbor starts to complain to the county that our business is impacting their use, then we’d be forced to leave.

As such, we believe the county has much work to do if they are truly interested in turning Wailuku into a mix-use community.

Lin ter Horst

February 4, 2015

Hi Liam,

I love your blog. I’m a big fan of classical architecture and have a subscription to the Dwell magazine.

My husband Chris and I have been scouting neighborhoods on Maui for over a year, looking for a potential location for our fruit candy business. Our business falls under the category of “food processing”, as it entail taking fresh raw fruits to make fruit purees, and cooking down the purees with sugar and a few other ingredients to turn them into our fruit candies. Our process is similar to the traditional fruit jam/jelly business, at least the first few steps are.

We have been interested in the Wailuku market because of the beautiful plantation era architecture, and to be perfectly honest, the relatively lower rent.

Your “favorable zoning allowances” link is for the WAILUKU REDEVELOPMENT AREA ZONING AND DEVELOPMENT CODE (WRAZ&D SEPTEMBER 2002). According to this document, “Food Processing” is defined as “Facilities for the preparation of food products for distribution to retail, wholesale and eating establishments. Examples include bakeries, refrigerated storage, canning, bottling, and packaging plants, noodle manufacturing and coffee roasting grinding.” Under section 30.03.030 Permitted uses, for the use purpose of “Food Processing – All activities shall take place within completely enclosed buildings. Noise, odor, and other emission levels must not impact neighboring land users.”

We’d much rather the code spells out what the acceptable noise, odor, and other emission levels are acceptable for the use purpose of food processing, so that we can figure out if it makes sense for us to further investigate. The way the code is written currently – “must not impact neighboring land users”, leads us to conclude that if a neighbor starts to complain to the county that our business is impacting their use, then we’d be forced to leave.

As such, we believe the county has much work to do if they are truly interested in turning Wailuku into a mix-use community.

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