Living in Maui includes year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle. It’s no wonder many people who visit Maui—even just once—decide to come back and live here permanently. Large numbers of “snowbirds” also enjoy Maui for the same reasons, and live on the Island part-time.
However, moving to and living in Maui can bring challenges, before and after you arrive.
A Limited Amount Of Land And Lack of Affordable Housing
It’s a tropical island and paradise for sure—but there isn’t a lot of lands to go around. Once the land has been completely developed minus agricultural areas, there is no more room for expansion.
There are always more people who want to live on Maui, and more are moving in every year. The problem is that there just isn’t enough housing for everyone. Homes advertised illegally as vacation rentals and Mainland vacationers who buy “second homes” on the Island further decrease the stock of available housing for residents.
For the individual who has the budget to build or buy an existing home, they can always find something. But people who were born and raised on Maui, or live with family here are usually unable to acquire housing on their own. The housing shortage has a direct impact on the local workforce, particularly essential personnel.
The County of Maui has a plan in place to encourage more efficient use of land and more affordable housing on the Island, but getting to that balance point is an uphill battle.
Additionally, permits are a long, frustrating process. The County is also working towards expediting the permit process.
More information is available at the Maui County planning website.
Because Maui has a large number of plant and animal species, the conversion of land can lead to a significant impact on water and air quality and erosion. Building codes and regulations are intended to lessen those impacts, but issues remain.
For new construction, existing vegetation is generally cleared in order to begin building. This may remove any number of native plants that would normally be left alone.
Marine debris and plastic pollution, already a problem throughout Hawaii, are exacerbated by construction. Diesel alone can contribute to air pollution, and chemical runoff can contaminate both groundwater and ocean water if left unchecked. Landfill waste can further contribute to environmental impact.
Contractors can reduce their impact on Maui by:
- Ensuring that the project stays on schedule, not taking too long
- Recycle were available (fixtures, building materials, etc.) and reduce the disposal of waste materials
- Limit fuel usage, and consider incorporating hybrid technology or alternative fuels
- Reduce idling
- Reduce hauling distances
- Reduce noise pollution, and stick to any local time restrictions on construction
It’s the main source of income for Maui and the entire state of Hawaii. Those who farm may also be eligible for tax breaks.
But building around agricultural land can bring other challenges that you may not have considered. Although sugarcane is no longer being grown and harvested, Maui is still a hotspot for crops like:
- Other tropical fruits
- Kula onions
- Macadamia nuts
- Other crops
- Landscaping nursery products such as turf grass
Other crops are being considered to replace sugarcane, but since central Maui is more hot and dry, finding the right crop has been slow. The county of Maui addresses these concerns, including the closures of smaller farms and plantations.
Building homes or business property around agricultural land must also consider factors such as:
- Utilities such as water and power
- Septic systems
- Rainfall-runoff and soil erosion
- Wildlife protection
- Land and other conservation
- Availability of tech utilities—Internet, phone, cable, and satellite are particularly important for both homeowners and businesses
These must be addressed when assessing a location anywhere near or around agricultural land.
Building A Home Or Business on Maui? Pro Draft For All Your Maui Architectural Design Needs
When you’re ready to begin building, remodeling, or adding to your home or commercial property, Pro Draft can help with architecture, drawings, blueprints, permits, and answer all of your questions before construction begins. We’re happy to help, and will work to ensure your project is exactly the way you envision.