Requests Heard to Build Higher Than Two Stories

Ok'd for locals, not for city folk.

Zoning laws on Molokai prevent buildings from being more than two stories high or 35 ft. tall. Last Thursday the Maui County Board of Variances and Appeals (MCVBA) ruled in favor of the fire department’s request to build a 44 ft training tower and denied a request to build a three story home on the West end.

The Maui County Department of Fire and Public Safety is planning to build a training tower which is nine feet above the current allowance. The tower will help rescue workers meet training requirements for state and federal regulations, according to Molokai firefighter Greg Jenkins.

The structure will be built at the proposed Kaunakakai Fire Station located off of Alanui Ka`Imi `Ike, near its intersection with Kakahahale St.

DeGray Vanderbilt, chairman of the Molokai Planning Commission (MPC) testified and stated that the MPC had already approved the applications for the additional height of the new tower.

While no one testified against the training tower, many protested a request to build a three-story vacation home near Papohaku Beach.

Richard and Elena Pollack, of New York City, were requested approval of the building plans for a new house on their of the Papohaku Ranch lot.

In actuality, only two stories of the house are living area. The first floor is 10 ft high uninhabitable space. The lift is in compliance with FEMA’s post Hurricane Katrina regulations for houses built in flood zones.

Arthur Parr, the homeowner’s architect, said that because the living area is only two stories and the house meets the 35 ft. requirement, their request should be granted. Parr also cited that in 2008 the zoning laws changes may allow for three story homes.

Vanderbilt testified in opposition to the home, saying it was an attempt to override the existing law for unnecessary reasons.

“At some point the applicant has to be accountable,” he said.

West end residents neighboring the Pollack’s lot also testified against their appeal.

They said they felt the Pollack’s issue was not about enough space for their family, but instead, about having an ocean view over the dunes.

In the proposal, the Pollack’s wrote that the new house would be 9,800 square feet, which they reduced from the original 13,000 square footprint because it would be “too overwhelming for Molokai.”

“Hawaiians have large families and they all live together and make it work,” said Lori Buchanan during her testimony against the appeal. “Maybe the Pollacks are really nice people, but they have almost six acres, they don’t need to go up, they can go out.”

The Pollack’s plan on using the home to vacation at and eventually retire in. “We have a large family and the proposed residence has been designed to meet out needs,” they wrote. The Pollack’s have five children from age 1 to 19 and have allotted enough space for one bedroom and one guest bedroom per child.

The MCVBA denied the Pollack’s request, stating that they would have to change their construction plans or wait for a change in the current law.


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