Planning Department Proposes Rule Changes For Coastal Areas

10/18/18 #kihei
This morning, Chair Kelly King kicked off her meeting once bare quorum was reached about 9:15 AM as the situation continues with a number of sitting members not being available to participate. Once in session, the first item, automating the county’s permitting system and making maps and status available to the public online is one of great interest. However, after anticipating completion this year, then next year, it is now not expected to be available until 2020.

We were there mainly for PC7 (6) Special Management Area (SMA) and Shoreline Area Rules, to learn what changes were being proposed by the Planning Department. The Department had a public meeting to first discuss these changes on 10/2/18, but the Administration created a conflict for our community by scheduling the Mayor’s FY 2020 budget meeting at the same time, which we attended to requests our needs for this area.

The next opportunity was 10/9/18 as part of the Planning Commission meeting, but after several hours the volunteer commissioners lost quorum (that concern again) before reaching this matter, so it was rescheduled for 10/23/18 at some unspecified time.

So when Chair King set the matter in this committee for today, we attended to hear from the Department. They offered a brief slide show on the two bills and a summary of their proposed changes. Member King kept public testimony open until after the presentation so guys could address what was offered, a distinct improvement over the regular process, when the public has to speak BEFORE seeing what is proposed.

The intent of the changes is to streamline some of the permitting process. David Raatz of the Planning Department said they have been in the works since the time of Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

Some of the items offered by Raatz in the presentations included “new definitions for various actions and exceptions for actions that are exempt”; changing the definition of single family dwelling, giving more power to the director, e.g. “to negotiate a settlement for a violation… without commission approval” and altering what is required for a “certified shoreline survey.”

An action that is not a development is exempt from a permit, but must be assessed to determine if the conditions are met. However the new proposed rules, as Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Albert Perez pointed out, include a new class of exceptions that mean that many things would never even reach the Planning Department, including a case like the scandal-ridden Paia Inn, and that there would no longer be the option for public input.

You can view both documents with the proposed modifications of the Department’s page on the Administration’s website.

(Just scroll down to “Hot Topics” and see second and third items)