Bills gain initial council backing

WAILUKU – The Maui County Council gave initial approval Friday to various bills, including one to keep county pools open during holidays and another to set building height limits in hotel districts.

The council also passed resolutions, one of which authorized the purchase of a drainage easement in Haiku to allow for drainage improvements under Haiku Road and through Lilikoi Gulch.

Passed on first reading were:

* A bill increasing funding for the Lanai Community Health Center infrastructure project by $156,728 and raising the Community Development Block Grant Program Administration appropriation by $14,316. The additional funds came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Planning and Development Office. The money for the Lanai project will be used for infrastructure development of a health care facility to benefit predominantly low- and moderate-income Lanai residents. The block grant funds will cover the costs of salary and wage increases and fringe benefits based on bargaining unit contracts that went into effect July 1, 2013.

* A measure increasing funding for the Department of Parks and Recreation Aquatics Program by $87,000. The funds will be used for personnel costs relating to staffing county swimming pools on designated county holidays. The pools began reopening on holidays in 2013. Pools were closed during county holidays when the furloughs began at the start of fiscal 2011.

* A bill appropriating $190,000 for the design and construction of the septic system replacement project at the Hana Ball Park. The funds come from another cesspool closure project that was completed elsewhere in East Maui.

* A measure adding $48,000 to assist with the wind turbine project at the Central Maui Landfill. The project is a supplemental environmental project to fulfill a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a case involving the county’s untimely installation of a gas collection system at the landfill. The project will include three large, commercial-grade windmills. The windmills will help offset county electricity costs.

* A bill clarifying how the percentage of owners or lessees protesting a change of zoning is to be calculated. The ordinance should reduce the need for piecemeal interpretations of the change of zoning protest provision.

* A measure amending hotel districts in the Maui County Code to address height restrictions and lot coverage specifications.

The bills advance to second and final reading by the full council.

On Friday, the council adopted several resolutions including:

* Accepting a $10,047 donation of a custom replacement cover for the existing tent frame at the Lahaina Aquatics Center. The donation includes tax and installation. The tent cover will provide shade to a portion of the center. It was donated by The Will Smith Foundation.

* Authorizing the purchase of a drainage easement of approximately 14,875 square feet in Haiku with an appraised value of $102,430 to allow for improvements to the Haiku Road culvert.

Resolutions require only one vote for approval.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at