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Molokai Planning Commission Needs New Commissioners

The Molokai Planning Commission, a decision-making body comprised of volunteer residents, is left on shaky ground after two commissioners leave the group this month. The five-year terms of Chairperson Miki`ala Pescaia and commissioner Debra Kelly have expired. That leaves the commission with barely enough members to make quorum, and with no candidates under serious consideration, the commission is seeking community volunteers.

“Right now, the authority rests with county council,” said Mike Molina, executive assistant to Mayor Alan Arakawa. The mayor’s office received a letter on March 6 informing them that the two applicants they had recommended, Karen Ashley and Amy Maeda, had been rejected by the council, most likely due to their lack of experience and long-term residency, according to Molina. Because the mayor was unable to find and submit replacement nominees before the 10-day deadline, it is now up to the Maui County Council to fill the two vacancies, said Molina. They have 60 days to do so before the authority is returned to the mayor as mandated by the Maui County Charter.

“It has been our pleasure to serve you,” said Pescaia, who has served on the commission for nearly five years. She has served as Chair since April 2011.

Kelly was a replacement appointment and served only a partial term, according to Vice Chair John Sprinzel.

“The situation will become dire unless more Molokai residents step up to help control the construction rulings in our community,” wrote Sprinzel in a letter. “The position actually only takes a couple of days each month, though the deliberations are quite serious and are taken to heart by the community.”

A new Chair and Vice Chair will be elected at the next meeting, according to Sprinzel.

For more information, contact the mayor’s office at (808) 270-7855.


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