Council Takes Action on Restoration, Trash, and Jet Skis

Molokai Planning Commission gives go ahead on restoration project.

Community members are encouraged to attend the next meeting, where the issue of jet skis in the waters surrounding Molokai will be discussed.

By Zalina Alvi

The Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) tackled a number of issues at last Wednesday’s meeting, from approving exemptions for two projects including a wetlands restoration project at Kalaeloa, Mana`e, to making waves in the effort to keep jet skis away from the waters around Molokai.

Manabas Get the Go Ahead
After two previous attempts at MoPC meetings, Christy and Desmond Manaba will now be able to begin restoration of the wetlands where they once bred ogo, shrimp, and tilapia through D&J Ocean Farms.

The council voted unanimously to grant an exemption to the Manabas, allowing them to complete restoration work without a Special Management Area (SMA) permit. Nancy McPherson, staff planner for Molokai, recommended the exemption to the council as the restoration plan has already passed an environmental assessment and will have only “positive and beneficial” effects.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the restoration work, and will be monitoring the progress over the next five years.

The work will involve the restoration of 0.60 acres of wetlands that includes re-vegetation, the removal of sidecasting material in 0.25 acres, minor trenching for electrical repairs, the replacement of a drainage pipe, and removal of mud from harvest boxes, all of which has been outlined in the restoration plan ordered by the EPA.

`Ohana Unit Approved
Tanya Davis-Mendija also received good news on Wednesday when the council granted her a similar exemption for the construction of a second dwelling on her property.

The house will function as the main home of an `ohana unit, and is valued at approximately $75,000.

McPherson recommended the exemption to the council on the grounds that single-family units are exempt from SMA rules, it will not have any impact on the coastal resources, and was a “simple, straightforward project.”

Recommendations for Island’s Trash
The council also heard recommendations and comments from the public in regards to the county’s draft Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP) currently under review.

Chairman Steve Chaikin stressed the importance of problem-solving when looking at the looming deadlines for the county’s landfills.

Molokai’s landfill is expected to be full by 2015, when another nine acres will be accessed for waste disposal. By 2029, it is expected Molokai will run out of space all together. The ISWMP offers suggestions for how to extend these deadlines with recycling, energy conversion technologies, and landfill management.

Resident Jade Bruhjell testified during the meeting to suggest that the automotive parts taking up the majority of space in the landfill should be relocated to a junkyard, where people could retrieve the used parts and make treasure out of someone else’s trash.

The formal public hearing for the plan was held on Molokai on July 25, and will now go to the state Department of Health for final review.

No Jet Skis In Molokai’s Waters
The subject of jet skis being permitted in the waters around Molokai was first brought up by kupuna Judy Caparida during a July meeting of the MoPC. In response to public demand to keep Molokai’s shorelines clear, the council is exploring options for advocating against the practice. This past Wednesday Chaikin shared some of his personal research on the subject.

After speaking to two representatives from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Chaikin said the rules surrounding the use of jet skis, which fall under the category of “thrill crafts,” were complicated. Currently, he said, the average person would not be able to discern whether or not they are allowed to ride a jet ski in the waters surrounding Molokai.

DLNR representatives told Chaikin that amending the rules to make them clearer was a possibility.

The topic will be put on the agenda for the next MoPC meeting, when the council will explore the options to support the clarification of the rules in an effort to keep the waters clear from jet skis.

The MoPC continues to encourage all members of the public to attend the meetings, which are held at the Mitchell Pauole Center at 12:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on Sept. 24.

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