Published in The Maui News, March 6, 2016
By MIKE WHITE, for The Maui News
March is shaping up to be a busy month for the Maui County Council.
The council will have a special meeting in Lanai City this coming Saturday, followed by a regular council meeting on Friday.
Saturday’s special council meeting will consider passage on first reading of the revised Lanai Community Plan. This document is the culmination of years of work and consideration by county staff, the general public and the volunteers who served on the Lanai Community Plan Advisory Committee and Lanai Planning Committee.
Throughout its deliberations, the council’s Planning Committee faced many ongoing changes on Lanai, including working with a new landowner, a large shift in development plans and a major renovation to the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. I believe the Planning Committee did its best to gather input and identify common ground from all stakeholders to create a sound plan for the next 20 years.
One of the major policy decisions through the process was the deletion of the proposal for a third resort (in addition to those at Koele and Manele Bay) at Halepalaoa on the eastern end of the island, based on promises made to the Lanai community by the prior landowner. Testimony will be accepted on the plan at the meeting, and input will again be sought for a mandatory review in 10 years.
I understand the Special Committee on County Governance plans to hold its first evening meeting on Thursday to hear community input as the volunteer members evaluate a possible county manager form of government for the County of Maui. I encourage you to attend and voice your opinion on how the county should be managed. More information can be found at mauicounty.us/governance.
The council’s performance audit of the Solid Waste Division of the Department of Environmental Management is anticipated to be discussed by the Budget and Finance Committee on March 15. The audit will be available for review upon its release at mauicounty.us/solidwasteaudit.
The March 18 council meeting is expected to include confirmation of numerous nominees to the county’s boards and commissions, as recommended by the Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. The committee has recommended approval of two council nominees to the Commission on Children and Youth, while the mayor has let two other positions on the commission remain vacant for more than a year. If you’re interested in serving on the commission, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 270-7855.
The Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee is recommending passage of bills to overhaul the Maui County Code’s regulation of parks facilities and to prohibit alcohol consumption at Waiale Park in Wailuku, respectively. In addition, the EAR Committee recommends the council’s adoption of resolutions to approve the county’s acquisition of Waiakoa Gym in Kula, to grant a lease to Tom Morrow Equestrian Arena in Haiku, to urge the Legislature to reimburse Molokai farmers and ranchers for costs associated with the Food Safety Modernization Act compliance, and to approve the parks assessment agreement for the Kamalani Subdivision in Kihei.
The council will receive Mayor Alan Arakawa’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal by March 24. The Budget and Finance Committee will be deliberating on the mayor’s budget proposal until early May in the Council Chambers. Evening meetings on the budget will be held in Kihei (April 5), Lahaina (April 6), Lanai City (April 8), Kaunakakai (April 11), Pukalani (April 13), Haiku (April 14), Hana (April 18) and Kahului (April 19).
* Mike White is chairman of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.