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Hotel and B&B Proposed for Town

Two upcoming projects slated for permitting represent firsts of their kind on Molokai. A two-story hotel and commercial space planned for downtown Kaunakakai would offer eight rooms for rent and retail storefront. The island’s first potentially permitted Bed and Breakfast is also seeking approval from the Molokai Planning Commission this month.

The property of the proposed hotel, located between American Saving Bank and Kalele Bookstore, is currently a 13,092 square foot empty lot owned by Stanley Wada.

The first floor would include two room units, manager’s office, laundry room, and three retail units, totaling 3,776 square foot of building coverage, according to Maui County Molokai Planner Sybil Lopez. Six room units will comprise the top floor.

“I saw there was a lack of overnight places to stay in town where people don’t have to rent cars,” said Wada of his planned development. “They used to have that on Molokai years ago above Kanemitsu Bakery.”

He said the rooms’ small size and basic amenities of bed and bath would allow him to keep prices lower than other local accommodations for short stays. 

Wada said the permitting process has taken over three years, and acknowledges his original goal of providing a place to stay without the need for car rental may not be as practical now.

“Things have changed. Now there’s no ferry so maybe we have to look at it again,” he said, explaining after the Molokai Ferry’s shutdown last year, travel from the airport might still require customers to rent a car.

The building’s first floor will also include public restrooms, which Wada said are needed in downtown. Currently no public restrooms are available in the Ala Malama storefront area. Wada said the restrooms will remain open during daytime hours.

Eleven parking spaces are also in the construction plan on the property. Wada stressed that Saturday market vendors would still be able to use the front space along the road.

Lopez said the building height would be 28 feet, less than the maximum height of 32 feet, and the building must meet county code requirements for Kaunakakai.

A public hearing on the proposed building will be held before the Molokai Planning Commission on March 22, at which time Wada is seeking approval on a Conditional Permit and Special Management Area Use Permit needed for construction. Wada said if approved, he hopes to begin construction later this year.

The Bed and Breakfast seeking approval to become the island’s first permitted B&B establishment will be coming before the Molokai Planning Commission on March 8 for approval.

Yvette and Michael Carlton live in a two-story single family home in Kaunakakai with four bedrooms, according to Maui County planning documents. They are requesting a B&B Home Permit to rent two of their bedrooms.

A Bed and Breakfast home means a use in which overnight accommodations are provided to guests for compensation, for periods of less than 180 days, in no more than two detached single-family dwelling units, one of which is occupied by the owner-proprietor, according to Lopez.

B&Bs differ from the hotly disputed transient vacation rentals — of which there are a handful of permitted operations on Molokai. The main difference is that for a vacation rental, the owner does not have to live on-island.

The public hearing on the B&B permit will be held on March 8 at 11 a.m. at the Mitchell Pauole Center.

For upcoming agendas, visit mauicounty.gov/Archive.aspx?AMID=87. To submit testimony on either the Wada hotel project or the B&B, before the meetings, or if you have questions on the projects, contact Lopez at her Molokai office, 808-553-4190; on Maui at 808-270-5529; or email comments to sybil.lopez@co.maui.hi.us.


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