Planning which puts community first
After a slow start, much of the community has been left confused as to the role and aims of the Molokai General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC). “There’s no county precedent,” explains local planning director, Nancy McPherson. With the potential to revolutionize island planning, GPAC is aimed at strengthening the island’s existing community plan.
Similar to GPAC, the Molokai Community Plan provides a specific set of policies and objectives to guide community development and protect important resources for Molokai. Molokai’s current plan was adopted in 2001 but community plans have existed since the 1980s.
Molokai’s GPAC group will work with counterparts on Lanai and Maui. The three committees will provide recommendations to the county planning department incorporating proposals into a single countywide policy plan.
GPAC has the authority to deny or approve any project which requires a community plan amendment, regardless of pre-existing land-use entitlements. It will transform island planning by putting a stop to plans which could negatively affect the Molokai’s community or environment. GPAC will ensure that the Planning Department guides development along with the needs and desires of the community, keeping developers from the forefront of county aims.
Community attendance at the GPAC meeting was prevented on January 16 by a concurrent Gill Net Hearing, whilst the February 1 meeting was cancelled after it was found that stormy weather would prevent the return of the Maui Planning Department to their homes on Maui. After the adoption of "Robert’s Rules of Order," the next meeting should see the election of a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson to the Board.
“We’re figuring out how all of the components will fit together,” said McPherson, who is liaison between GPAC and the Long Range Planning Division of the Maui County Department of Planning. She commented that her job is to “co-ordinate the departments” to ensure that long range planning, the Planning Director, GPAC, and the community are all in synch.
The next GPAC meeting is scheduled for February 15.