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Community Requests Extension to Planning Process

An important process is taking place: a community plan for the next 20 years of Molokai’s future is being developed and the input of residents is requested. Each community within Maui County has a blueprint plan that guides decision-making and that plan is updated periodically. Right now, the County of Maui Planning division is facilitating the development of Molokai’s Community Plan over a period of six months.

The Community Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) is comprised of 13 Molokai residents and is currently reviewing and offering recommendations to the plan. The next meetings take place this week Wednesday and Thursday, and the public is invited to each meeting.

Last Tuesday, a group of residents attended the CPAC meeting to request an opportunity for additional input through an extension of the planning process. They testified that the six-month time-frame for CPAC discussion didn’t afford enough opportunity for vital feedback and they want to gather residents and local experts to share their mana`o for the plan.

CPAC Chair Steve Chaikin said afterward he was glad for the turnout, because, despite publicizing the meetings through the newspaper, bulletin boards, on social media, county agenda alerts, workshops and word of mouth, community testimony and attendance has been fairly low.

“The problem is that people want to participate but it takes a lot of time and energy,” he said. With meetings typically running over four hours long and covering a broad range of material, understanding the plan and being part of the process can be a lot of work. But county planners stress the importance of the process.

“Writing this plan is really the easy part. The hard part is implementing the plan,” said Chaikin. “It’s going to take the entire community to make it a reality. People need to feel like they’re part of the plan… to get this ownership interest in the plan so you’re more likely to make it a reality.”

He said there is still a lot of opportunity to participate and offer input. With five major CPAC meetings scheduled over the next month, public testimony is welcomed at the beginning of each meeting and is crucial in the process of shaping Molokai’s future.

“Read the draft plan and submit testimony on anything you are particularly concerned about or passionate about,” Chaikin advised residents.

A copy of the draft Molokai Community Plan Update is available for review on Molokai at the Mitchell Pauole Center or at the Molokai Public Library. It can also be viewed on the county’s website under Planning Department, Molokai Community Plan Update.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at the Molokai Community Health Center (Old Pau Hana Inn) at 3 p.m. and will cover the CPAC’s second review of several chapters. Chapter 3 covers natural, heritage and scenic resources, chapter 4 discusses hazards, chapter 5 outlines economic development, chapter seven covers community design and chapter 10 details implementation and monitoring of the plan. The following day’s meeting, on Aug. 6 at the same time and location, will cover any review not finished the night before as well as continuing to review the draft Community Plan designation maps. However, because of the community request, two agenda items have been added to Thursday’s meeting. Members will discuss the proposed time extension, and the planning director will give a presentation on the overview of the community planning process.

Though Chaikin said the process can’t start over, the CPAC is open to requesting an extension from the county council if the committee feels they need more time for more thorough review or additional public input.

The next meeting will be held on Aug. 19. Agendas for the meetings are available on the County website.

Residents can sign up for email notification of CPAC agendas through the County’s website, co.maui.hi.us/list.aspx. Written testimony should be submitted at least two days before the meeting to ensure distribution to the committee. If written testimony is submitted immediately prior to or at the meeting, 15 copies are required for presentation to each committee member. Testimony can be hand delivered to the Mitchell Pauole Center, emailed to planning@mauicounty.gov or faxed to 808-270-6290.

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