New Year for Molokai Planning Commission

Challenges and changes ahead for 2008 MoPC

By Bra

i County Superstores

The next order of business was the prohibition of superstores in Maui County, which quickly devolved into a square footage argument. The Maui County Planning Board had designated a superstore as anything above 90,000 square feet. One question is whether a square footage designation is a good qualifier for a superstore?

Maui currently has 5 stores that meet the square footage, the largest being 142,000 square feet. The MoPC, after multiple motions came and went, could not agree on a size cap for Molokai and therefore the prior size designation remained.

The MoPC did add an attachment to the Planning Board measure that Maui can do what Maui wants but Molokai will have no part in superstore development.                   

The fear is a behemoth store coming to Molokai and wiping out long-standing family businesses. However, Commissioner Lance Dunbar does not think Molokai presently has anything to worry about because the economic incentive does not exist on Molokai. One thing is clear though, if a superstore did find a home on Molokai, many businesses would lose a home on Molokai.

Last, but not least

With the two previous items consuming the Commission’s time and energy, some important issues on the agenda were left unattended.           

One missed item of great interest was a presentation by Doug Tom of the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program. Tom had a federal mandate to make this presentation to the MoPC, but was unable to do so. The MoPC hopes to reschedule this presentation as soon as possible.

The MoPC just made the January 10th deadline for recommendations to the 2030 General Plan. They submitted 20 to 30 recommendations, but these were not board actions, rather attachments to the General Plan.

Vanderbilt said his main concerns were, “consistency problems within the General Plan and the use of antiquated data to forecast from.” The data gathered is from the 2000 census.

The inaugural MoPC meeting was a stalemate.  The lack of commissioner attendance led to no action and most items from the January 9 meeting will be transferred over to the next meeting.


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