Planning commissioners conclude terms.
DeGray Vanderbilt and Lance"Kip" Dunbar participated as acting commissioners for the last time March 27. They will have to wait two years if they would like to reapply.
By Brandon Roberts
After five years of dedicated community service, it is time for two Molokai planning commissioners to step down as their terms wrap up.
DeGray Vanderbilt and Lance “Kip” Dunbar participated March 27 in the last meeting as acting commissioners at the. The Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) meeting, held at the Mitchell Pau`ole Center, was business as usual; however, it was spiced up with a lei presentation, and a closing mahalo from Vanderbilt.
“Molokai has a bright future,” MoPC chairmanVanderbilt said in his final address as chairman.
“So many in our community take time to give back, this is what keeps Molokai strong.”
“The five years I put in on the commission was my way of giving back,” Vanderbilt said in a later interview.
Vanderbilt came to Molokai 25 years ago with a development proposal in-hand. “Funny thing is what I said back then is still being said by developers today, which is, you need us because you need jobs.”
It was not long after his presentation that Vanderbilt realized the greater question to Molokai employment, which is, “at what cost?”
Vanderbilt spent four years of his term as a commissioner, capping his final year as chairman, and is a member of the Molokai Water Working Group. “Vanderbilt has spent his life working for Molokai,” Steve Chaikin, MoPC vice-chair said in admiration.
“Molokai is not anti-development,” Vanderbilt says when talking to people who are not from the isle. “It’s pro-lifestyle.”
Molokai’s other exiting commissioner Dunbar is a Mana`e resident and has been on island over 20 years. “Dunbar brought perspective to the commission,” Chaikin said of his colleague.
“I thought there was a need to understand government before attempting meaningful change,” Dunbar said on why he became a commissioner. “I am glad I did it and might do it again.”
“We have enough laws; they just need to be equitably enforced,” Dunbar said hopeful that there is a better understanding of the economic implications of passing laws and how they affect people.
“It was fun, at times frustrating, but we need to remove the fear that making a decision will set a precedent,” Dunbar said. “Every single thing you look at has a different wrinkle.”
“I sincerely hope the community keeps participating in commission meetings,” Vanderbilt concluded. “We need your input because the commission works for your interests.”
Planning commissioners are appointed by the mayor; however, the Maui County Council must approve the nominees.
The next meeting is April 9 and will be the introduction of former commissioners Lori Buchannan and first-timer, Don Williams.