Hearing on Maui Island Plan implementation program set

Following extensive discussions by its Planning Committee, the Maui County Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday at 6 p.m. to consider a proposed bill to adopt the Maui Island Plan’s long-range implementation program.

The long-awaited implementation program is the final component and 10th chapter of the Maui Island Plan. The first nine chapters took effect on Dec. 28, 2012, pursuant to Ordinance 4004.

The Maui Island Plan is one of the major components of the county’s General Plan 2030 project and follows adoption of the Countywide Policy Plan four years ago. The Maui Island Plan implementation program will be used for county departments’ strategic planning, and will chart a course for their goals and operations in delivering services and projects.

As chair of the Planning Committee, I recognize the importance of input from the public and county officials alike on this critical document. The committee held meetings to consider the implementation program on Jan. 23 and Feb. 6, 20 and 25. After in-depth discussions with all of the county departments and multiple public testimony opportunities before the committee and other advisory bodies, the implementation program has been thoroughly vetted and refined.

Pursuant to the requirements in the Maui County Code, the implementation program includes a capital improvement element, a financial element and an implementation schedule.

The capital improvement element establishes a broadly defined strategy and policy framework to strengthen infrastructure planning and delivery. It identifies major capital improvement projects to address existing service deficits and projected growth to 2030. The element also forecasts needs for water systems, roadways, transit, wastewater, solid waste, parks and public facilities.

The financial element identifies potential funding sources by infrastructure system. It provides the county a policy regarding the roles and responsibilities of public and private sectors in providing infrastructure and public facilities.

The implementation schedule element specifies the timing, priority, lead agencies and potential funding sources for the numerous programmatic actions to implement the Maui Island Plan’s objectives.

With this final piece in place, the Maui Island Plan will provide the framework for stewardship of our island community through 2030. The vision statement of the Maui Island Plan sets the tone of this guiding document: “Maui Island will be environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable with clean, safe and livable communities and small towns that will protect and perpetuate a pono lifestyle for the future.”

This plan, made complete with the long-range implementation program, is more than a set of lofty ideals. It contains recommendations to direct the island’s growth, protect Maui’s small towns and rural character, preserve affordable housing, protect watersheds and coastal resources, identify transit corridors, provide for economic diversification and integrate land use and infrastructure planning.

The plan is a culmination of years of effort, input from Maui’s diverse population and hours of deliberation by volunteer board members, the council and its committees.

It is time for Bill 29 (2014), as it is now known, to be enacted and for the Maui Island Plan to take full effect.

Bill 29 passed the first of two required readings before the council on April 22. It can be viewed online at www.mauicounty.gov/bill29. The agenda for the public hearing is available at www.mauicounty.gov/councilmeetings.

* Don Couch holds the County Council seat for the South Maui residency area. He is the chairman of the Planning Committee. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.