Shorthanded Planning Commission takes care of business

The Molokai Planning Commission had four commissioners missing from the Sept. 14 meeting and three absent from yesterday’s regular noon meeting at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center.

Molokai’s only political representation that actually meets on Molokai, the MoPC can have up to nine appointed members and needs a majority vote of five in order to pass any motion. For this reason, quorum is sometimes not obtained.

Despite the inconsistent turnout, as a body, the MoPC has still accomplished its work this month. In the past two meetings, the MoPC has approved three exemptions from Special Management Area permits, approved two minor SMA permits, deferred an SMA assessment and amended a County Special Use Permit.

President of the Molokai General Hospital Janice Kalanihuia at her first meeting as a member of the Molokai Planning Commission on Sept. 14.

On Sept. 14, an SMA minor permit was granted for soil sampling of excavation in the Kaunakakai area. Seven test pits four feet deep on Wharf Road will be sampled. In the past, traces of contaminated soil were found when drainage work was done. The MoPC placed conditions on the permit, including the requirement of archeological monitoring and notification of anyone within 500 feet of the work. Oceanit Laboratories, Inc. will be doing the work on behalf of the Maui County Department of Public Works.

Also on the same day, Richard Young was granted an SMA assessment exemption for the construction of a trellis to support photovoltaic panels. A 630 square-foot trellis on the home in Kawela will hold up 20 panels. According to Young, they will provide 75 percent of the home’s needs.

The Commissioners also concurred with the Maui County Planning Department to grant an SMA exemption to Veronica Marquez for an addition to her Ranch Camp house. A 1,054 square-foot living area addition, which will include a bedroom, bathroom and recreation room, will be added to the existing three-bedroom, one-bath house.

Yesterday, the MoPC unanimously approved an SMA exemption for the interior repairs of a one-bedroom condo unit at Wavecrest Resort. The request, from owner Kris Cherni, was made to repair flood damage to the unit. The construction will include plumbing and electrical work.

A request from John Comstock to add a bedroom and a retaining wall to his property in Ranch Camp was deferred yesterday. The site improvement requires 85 cubic yard of fill and grubbing across 4,040 square feet as well as 12 inches of excavation for 10 footings and a retaining wall. The Commissioners considered a possible site visit to look at how the grading may affect water drainage. Instead, they decided to defer until the next meeting when they can consult with project architect Richard Young.

The Commissioners approved a request from Sprint Nextel Hawaii to replace three cellular phone service antennae on the roof of the Lucy Wilhelm Center in Kaunakakai, commonly known as the Paddlers’ Inn building. The new antennae, with a maximum height of 34 feet, will be lower than the current ones. They will match the color of the roof but still need approval from the County Design Review Panel. The Commissioners, in particular Lori Buchanan, had the consultant William Keoni Fox review all sections of the plan. Discussions of bandwidth interference were resolved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners. A Special Use Permit and an SMA minor permit were unanimously approved.

The Sept. 14 MoPC meeting marked the first appearance of Janice Kalanihuia, president of Molokai General Hospital, as a Commissioner. Absent from that meeting were new members Zhantell Dudoit and Ron Davis. Chair Mikiala Pescaia was also absent along with Don Williams.

At yesterday’s meeting, Don Williams, who has not been to a meeting in months, was officially removed from the MoPC. Out of the eight remaining members, Dudoit, Davis and Nat Bacon were also missing.


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