Changing of the Guard
New planning commissioners welcomed.
By Brandon Roberts
It is a new era at the Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) with the introduction of two new commissioners, as well as the election of a new chairman and vice-chair.
Steve Chaikin was unanimously voted in as the new commission chair. To his right, Miki`ala Pescaia was voted in as the new vice-chairwoman.
“We can either be proactive or reactive,” said Chair Chaikin in his first address to the commission.
Lori Buchanan and Don Williams were introduced at the April 9 meeting in the Mitchell Pau`ole Center. These new commissioners were appointed by Mayor Charmaine Tavares, and approved by the Maui County Council.
Councilman Danny Mateo made a point to talk story with the incoming commissioners. He had this to say about them, “Lori has the time to commit and Don is a businessman, and brings perspective,” he said. “I think the two coming on-board are a good balance.”
Williams submitted an application for appointment “primarily because I thought the commission needed someone that was in the development world to assist in the decision making.” He added that some of his strengths are hands-on experience, and real-world knowledge.
A contractor on Molokai for 15 years, Williams has been in the construction business over 40 years. He grew up on Big Island and moved to the Friendly Isle from Oahu. “I have seen what uninhibited over-development can lead to,” referring to his time on Oahu.
He says he is dedicated to the commission and represents the West End. One of his main concerns is with illegal development, and he would like to see it corrected. “There are proper ways to do business.”
Buchanan, a wahine who wears many hats on Molokai, is a former councilmember and was chairwoman for two of her five year term. She also works with the Nature Conservancy, specializing with invasive species. She waited the mandatory two years before reapplying for the MoPC.
She is keiki o ka `aina, born in Ho`olehua, and now resides in Kalae. She brings experience and familiarity with Maui County codes and regulations to the commission.
Buchanan resubmitted an application to “serve the community in the best possible way.” She said she “cares about the island and what happens to it.”
The MoPC is a diverse group of Friendly Isle residents who volunteere their service to oversee, regulate, and shape the development of the last Hawaiian island.
The MoPC will host its next meeting April 23 at 12:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Pau`ole Center.