Published in The Maui News, September 7, 2014
By GLADYS C. BAISA, for The Maui News
Starting Wednesday, planners and community leaders will convene at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali for the 2014 Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials, hosted by Maui County’s Planning Department.
This year’s conference theme is “Shaping Hawaii for Tomorrow,” or “SHIFT,” which encourages participants to shift mindsets in planning to meet significant changes in the economy, media and technology, energy systems and climate.
The program is scheduled to include three days of seminars and discussions among planning commissioners, county council members and others involved in land-use management on such topics as:
- Designing better places.
- Protecting our resources.
- Creating a better process.
- Activating a new economy.
The conference kicks off at 10 a.m. with a public meeting of the state Land Use Commission, then continues with mobile workshops that will allow attendees to view agricultural projects on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains, the Lahaina historic district, efforts to restore West Maui shorelines and the island of Lanai.
The issue of shoreline restoration is particularly timely. On Aug. 12, the County Council’s Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee learned from Tara Owens, a coastal process and hazards specialist from the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant Program, that Maui’s beaches have the highest erosion rate in the state.
On Thursday, attendees will hear from Burt Lum, chief executive officer of Hawaii Open Data, about “open data” – a concept that public information should be made more readily available online to enhance community participation and government accountability.
At my request, the council is looking into open data policies for the County of Maui that could allow interested members of the public to visualize the impacts of planning and other policy decisions, making for more meaningful testimony and discussion.
The conference closes on Friday with discussions on planning law, planning ethics and strategies to take planning to the next century: “Planning to 2100.”
Breakout sessions throughout the conference include other matters of interest to the council, such as home businesses, complete streets, form-based codes and sustainable economic development. Keynote speakers for the conference are Bill Holsinger-Robinson, lead organizer of TEDxGrandRapids; Jennifer Keesmaat, chief planner of the City of Toronto; and Jim Heid, founder of UrbanGreen.
Other featured speakers are Ray Quay, researcher at the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, and Rena Leddy, vice president of Progressive Urban Management Associates.
Registration and other conference information is available at hcpomaui2014.squarespace.com.
Prior to the conference, the council’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee will meet on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. to consider permitting requirements for bicycle tour businesses. The committee may review the administration’s enforcement capabilities and the establishment of an appeals process.
Testimony for the bicycle tour item may be emailed to email@example.com, referencing IEM-4.
A hui hou.
* Gladys C. Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council and holds the council’s Pukalani-Kula-Ulupalakua area residency seat. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.