Vanderbilt elected Chairman of Molokai Planning Commission

Chaikin tapped as Vice Chair, new members Pescaia and Kauhane welcomed on board


DeGray Vanderbilt, a twenty-seven year resident with an extensive track record of involvement with planning and water issues on Molokai, was elected to Chair the Molokai Planning Commission for the next year, April 1, 2007 until March 31, 2008.

Steve Chaikin. owner of Molokai Sea Farms was elected as Vice Chairman. As a member of the Commission’s Affordable Housing Sub-Committee, Chaikin voluteered a lot of extra time last year crafting recommendations for affordable housing standards, which the Commission adopted and send on to the Council for consideration.

Chaikin is a pilot and on one occasion flew over to Maui on his own time to testify before the Council in support of positions being advanced by the Molokai Planning Commission. He is starting his second year on the Commission.

Vanderbilt has been on the Commission for four years.

The Commission also welcomed its two newest members, Miki’ala Pescaia and Linda Kauhane. Mayor Charmaine Tavares nominated the new members, and their nominations were approved by the County Council. They replace out-going Commissioners Janice Kalanihuia and former Chairperson, Robert Ribao.

Pescaia was born and raised on Molokai. She is head of Na Pua No`eau , a non-profit organization which nurtures gifted and talented Hawaiian children with the goal of instilling a passion for learning.

She is one of many young adult community leaders that continue to be a force on important community issues.

Kauhane, a paralegal for nearly 30 years at various firms, is a twelve year resident of Molokai and was most recently executive director of Molokai Occupational Center.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be Chair of the Planning Commission,” Vanderbilt told the Dispatch in a phone interview. “ I will make every effort to see that we coordinate with the Maui Planning Department to make sure that our Molokai Planning Commission office is given the opportunity and the tools they need to serve our Commission and our community efficiency. With our community, the buck stops with the Molokai Planning Commission, so its up to us to be prepared and to diligently carry out our responsibilities.

Vanderbilt noted that public awareness of planning issues is key to getting the residents of Molokai involved and interacting with the Planning Commission. “Molokai residents have no problem stepping up to the plate and getting involved when it comes to planning issues that impact our island….they just need to know what’s going on” said Vanderbilt. “On Molokai, we have nine dedicated Molokai Planning Commissioners, a new professional Molokai Planner in Nancy McPherson and a highly qualified planning staff person in Nina Kawano. Together with the cooperation of the staff professionals at the Planning Department on Maui, we will keep the community well informed on a timely basis about what’s coming down. To be effective, the Commission needs to have our community involved.”

Prior the formation of the Molokai Planning Commission in 1988, planning decisions for Molokai were made by the nine-member the Maui Planning Commission. There was only one Molokai resident on that Commission.

Vanderbilt was the primary coordinator in the effort to have an amendment to the County Charter placed on the 1988 general election ballot calling for Molokai to have its own Planning Commission. The voters of Maui County approved the amendment, and the nine-member Molokai Planning Commission became official. All nine members of the Commission are required to be residents of Molokai.

Planning Commissioners each serve for a term of five years. The Commission meets twice a month, generally on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Mitchell Pauole Center. The agendas for upcoming meetings are posted on bulletin boards around the island and agendas and meeting minutes of the Molokai Planning Commission can be found on the Maui County website under Boards and Commissions.

The current Commission includes:

DeGray Vanderbilt, Chairperson

Steve Chaikin, Vice Chairperson

Lynne DeCoite

Lance “Kip” Dunbar

Bill Feeter

Joe Kalipi

Linda Kauhane

Sherman Napoleon, Jr.

Miki’ala Pescaia

The next Planning Commission meeting is April 25, 2007 at Mitchell Pauole Center beginning at 12:30. The Commission will continue its orientation session from the last Commission meeting. The session will include a discussion on the state environmental impact statement process and provide a status report on the current process being conducted to update both the Maui County General Plan and the Molokai Community Plan.

Also on the April 25 agenda is a notice that at the May 9 Commission meeting there will be a public hearing on an application by Ms. Frances Feeder, who is requesting a State Land Use Commission Special Use Permit and a Conditional Permit to operate a short term rental on rural zoned lands at Pukoo.

Information concerning this application is available for review at the Molokai Planning Commission office in Kaunakakai.




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