Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Maui's Anti-Market "Big Box" Bill Moves Forward

Under Maui County's code, any bill proposed by the Council that deals with zoning must go before the land use commission for its recommendation.

As with a similar Kauai bill, the proposed Maui bill is an onerous market control in the guise of zoning. According to today's Maui News, the bill would "forbid any new stores that exceeded 90,000 square feet of total retail space, if they either stocked more than 25,000 different products or devoted more than 20,000 square feet to groceries." Unfortunately, for all the Council's allegations of the negative impacts these stores might have, no studies were prepared to establish that such market constraints are warranted. More likely, the bill will artificially limit choices for Maui consumers and perpetuate high prices and a limited supply of goods.

Thankfully, the planning commission is also asking for a basis for the Council's bill. Let's hope that reasonable minds prevail like they did on the Big Island, where a similar bill was rejected.

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