Land Use Commission Sets La`au Hearing Date
Commission will determine whether or not to accept Molokai Ranch’s EIS
By Todd Yamashita
The State Land Use Commission (LUC) will hold hearings on Molokai Nov. 15 and 16 to determine whether it finds Molokai Ranch’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be acceptable.
Senior LUC Planner, Cameron Lowry, said that the main purpose of the hearing was to decide if the LUC would accept the Ranch’s EIS.
“We realize there is a lot of public interest,” said Lowry, who expects a large turnout at the hearing. He says everyone will be provided an opportunity to give testimony.
Granted that all testimonies can be heard within both day-long hearings, Lowry says the LUC should be able to make their decision before leaving the island.
Lowry said that the LUC would be reviewing technical aspects of the EIS, and not necessarily detailed content of the 2,000 plus page document.
Future hearings would decide on the Ranch’s request to reclassify 613 acres of West Molokai land from agricultural to rural.
Molokai Ranch is seeking to change the current agricultural zoning of the area in order to develop 200 two-acre oceanfront lots marketed to millionaires. The company says the development is the only way to fund the re-opening of the Kaluakoi Hotel.
Opponents of the plan argue that there is not enough water to support the overall project, and that its cultural, social and environmental impacts would be detrimental to Molokai’s traditional rural lifestyle.
If the LUC rules the Ranch’s EIS is acceptable, there is a 60-day period when the public can legally challenge the decision.
If approval for the La`au development is not granted, Ranch management has publicized that it will bring down a “doomsday scenario,” which involves dismissing all but a handful of Ranch employees, and selling off its lands and other assets.
The place and time for the November hearings have not been set. Lowry says the LUC is currently researching a location that will meet the expected capacity. He says the information will be published at a later date.