Public Hearing at the MACC, but No DOE
The Land Use Commission hearing on Wednesday, April 3rd was once again a review of the condition imposed on the State Department of Education (DOE) by the LUC to have a safe off-grade crossing for walkers and bicyclists. The meeting started with public testimony. The Kihei Community Association reiterated again that the safety of children comes first. KCA stated that the purpose in setting conditions when legal approval is sought must prevail. If you do not abide by a condition, you cannot proceed. Others offered their manao (stories) with about a dozen testifiers. They all expressed the same concern as KCA. Child safety is paramount. More than one Kihei parent stated that though they would be disappointed if school opening was delayed, it was preferable to opening the school without the safe passage!
While no one from the Department of Education (DOE) showed up, it is our understanding that last Friday the DOE withdrew their request to intervene in the issuance of the Declaratory Order. “A declaratory order can provide a legally binding decision to the parties to the proceeding, without imposing a penalty, sanction, or other liability, in order to terminate an actual or emerging controversy or to remove uncertainty in the application of existing legal requirements” (Administrative Conference of the United States).
So with a motion by Lee Ohigashi, a lawyer based in Wailuku and currently the Maui County Seat chair for the state Land Use Commission, and seconded by Aaron Mahi, LUC second vice chair and Hawaiian cultural practitioner, the commission voted unanimously to proceed. It is our understanding the Commission cannot direct the DOE to take this prudent action to install a safe off-grade crossing for walkers and cyclists, but they have stated with clarity that is just what the imposed condition requires.
After over five years of stalling will the Department of Education (DOE) finally hear what the commission, what the South Maui community, what the County Council and Administration and what their own commissioned study are saying? All are united on the condition of a safe over or underpass for the proposed high school.
Children’s safety trumps state bureaucracy in South Maui. Look for a professional report in today’s Maui News.