Published in The Maui News, December 14, 2014
By ROBERT CARROLL , for The Maui News
The County Council will consider on second and final reading Friday Bill 85, which provides new authority for the county to address water shortages, and Bill 86, an update to the county’s affordable-housing law known as the residential workforce housing policy.
Both bills were carefully vetted in multiple committee meetings covering most of the council term and passed first reading, after substantial public testimony, by 7-1 votes on Dec. 5. I’ll preside at Friday’s council meeting and welcome any additional comments from the public on these important measures.
The council will also receive my proposed charter amendment to allow the council to initiate removal of the county’s top civil attorney, the corporation counsel. This proposal is intended to provide more balance between the legislative and executive branches.
Under the county charter, the Department of the Corporation Counsel represents both the mayor and the council. But because only the mayor can initiate the corporation counsel’s termination, the county’s law department has a vested interest in being devoted to the executive branch.
Friday will also provide the council’s first look at the proposed land use entitlements for the 406-acre Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei. The applicant, Maui R&T Partners, is requesting an amendment to the Kihei-Makena Community Plan and a change in zoning to expand the tech park into a mixed-use community.
The Maui Planning Commission recommended approval of the requested land use entitlements on Dec. 10 of last year. As chairman of the Land Use Committee, I look forward to carefully reviewing this long-pending application in the upcoming council term that starts Jan. 2.
Other items the Land Use Committee may consider early in the new term include approvals for the Hawaiian Cement Concrete Batching Plant in Honokowai and the Puunene Heavy Industrial Subdivision.
Council Member Elle Cochran has introduced a bill to amend the comprehensive zoning ordinance by establishing composting operations as a permitted use in the agricultural district. The legislation will likely be referred on Friday for consideration in the next term.
The Department of Planning has recommended a major update of park zoning districts. The Lanai, Maui and Molokai planning commissions expressed general concurrence in the summer of 2013, and the legislation will be initially reviewed by the council on Friday.
The bill proposes to expand accessory uses to include farmers markets and small-scale energy systems. Additionally, standards would be established for wind turbines in park districts.
Also on Friday’s agenda is Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposed budget amendment to provide $700,000 and four employee positions to the Department of Public Works for solid waste operations. The administration has requested expedited committee review in the new term.
As the council wraps up its work this term, some unresolved issues in various committees are being considered for referral to the 2015-2017 term. Examples include advertising inside Maui Bus vehicles, the new Kahului Community Center facility, the proposed South Maui multipurpose center, Kanaha Valley Stream access, regulation of polystyrene disposable food containers, the Central Maui Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan and policies on cybersecurity.
Review committee materials at MauiCounty.us/committees. The council agenda is available at MauiCounty.us/calendar.
On behalf of the County Council, I would like to wish everyone good tidings this holiday season.
* Bob Carroll holds the County Council seat for the East Maui residency area. He’s vice chairman of the council and chairman of the Land Use Committee. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.