A Roof Overhead

Paddlers Inn gets approval to start work on patio plans

Photo by Jerald Johnson.

By the end of this year, Paddlers Inn patrons will be able to wine and dine with a roof over their heads, rather than the current shade screen. Last week, the Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) voted to overturn a decision to deny the project by the Urban Design Review Board last month on Maui.

Owner Jerald Johnson said that plans to build a covered patio area started in 2004, when he first acquired the property. It called for a metal roof to be built over the existing 2,384 square-foot patio area which would provide shelter for concerts and in case of rain. Additionally, they would solidify a 7,300 square-foot parking lot that would provide 28 parking stalls, including one handicapped accessible stall.

The project was brought to the Urban Design Review Board in Kahului on May 1, but the board director determined that the project did not conform with the Molokai Country Town Design Guidelines, a manual developed in 1993 to “establish development standards…[that] preserve and maintain their unique urban design character, and promote the ‘country town’ atmosphere of the various rural business communities in Maui County,” according to the document. The guidelines pertain mostly to the visual or aesthetic appeal of the development rather than use or utility, said Clayton Yoshida of the county Department of Planning.

Paddlers failed to comply with the guidelines in two areas – the pitch and materials of the roof. The proposed project has a 1:12 pitch, vertical to horizontal ratio, whereas the guidelines state that a roof and canopy facing the street must be 4:12 pitch. Additionally, the design guidelines call for a prefinished, deep corrugated metal roofing, whereas Paddlers’ plans propose a standing seam metal roof.

“The plan fits our Molokai lifestyle,” said Moku Buchanan, who has worked for Paddlers since its inception. “If you look around Kaunakakai town, it blends in really easily. It would benefit us workers because it will beautify the place, keep it cooler and make it a lot easier to keep clean.”

“If the Planning Commission finds that the design plan maintains the integrity of the district design guidelines, it has the authority to overrule [the review board’s denial of the plans],” said county Deputy Corporation Council Michael Hopper.

After hearing testimony from the community, MoPC members unanimously voted to overrule the review board’s denial of the project.

“I was so happy to see the planning commission taking an interest and supporting local enterprise,” said Johnson. “I was pretty discouraged [after the project was denied], but I felt pretty good about the planning commission getting behind local businesses and helping them grow.”

Johnson said he plans to start construction on the patio in November, with completion scheduled by the end of the year. Landscaping the parking lot will follow.

Johnson would like to thank MOPC Chair John Sprinzel for understanding and aggressively promoting local business opportunities with an understanding of Molokai.


One Response to “A Roof Overhead”

  1. hawaiiangirl says:

    Finally, some good old common sense. Locals know what is best for Molokai, not someone in Maui that could care less on the economy here and how many people they would employ and good eats also. Can’t wait for the Grand Opening.

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