Council considers variety of matters

CHAIR'S 3 MINUTES

The Maui County Council had a full committee schedule this past week and acted on many important matters.

Over 40 nominations to county boards and commissions were considered by the Policy, Economic Development and Agriculture Committee. This includes members of the Liquor Control Commission, Board of Water Supply, Board of Ethics, Cost of Government Commission and Fire and Public Safety Commission, just to name a few.

The appointments typically begin on April 1 each year with terms ranging from two to five years. The mayor appoints, and the council must confirm nominees pursuant to the Maui County Charter.

Openings occur throughout the year due to resignations and unforeseen circumstances, and residents are encouraged to apply for interim appointments to over 30 boards and commissions at www.mauicounty.gov/boards.

The Budget and Finance Committee recommended approval this past week of a $2.35 million purchase of approximately 15,351 square feet of vacant land in South Maui. Funding will come from the Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources and Scenic Views Preservation Fund, which restricts use of the parcel, as specified in the County Charter.

The parcel is adjacent to county property and will allow for access to Kenolio Beach Reserve and provide valuable northern access to Waipuilani Park.

Once acquired, the parks department has plans for a gravel parking lot on the parcel.

The acquisition will also maintain highly desired open space in the area. If not acquired by the county, the underlying zoning of the parcel, which is for apartments, would deter park and beach access.

The budget committee also recommended passage of proposals to acquire all units of the One Medical Plaza Building located at 30 N. Church St. in Wailuku for $1.25 million. The county has a master plan to redevelop the Wailuku Municipal Parking lot to create additional capacity for parking, government office space and economic development opportunities.

Acquiring the medical plaza will also allow for a larger footprint to implement the master plan. If approved by the council, the measure will allow the mayor to execute all necessary documents in connection with acquisition of the property.

Additionally this past week, the Land Use Committee recommended approval of a modification and time extension relating to the Kaiwahine Village 201H development project located in South Maui.

In 2011, the County Council approved the project under state fast-track 201H guidelines, to be specifically sold as fee simple affordable units. The development, however, was not built.

New investors are now proposing to move the project forward with assistance from a combination of private capital, state grants and federal HOME funds to develop affordable rentals.

The project proposes to create 120 residential workforce-housing units that would be rented to households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income.

Aside from moving from fee simple to rental units, there are no other substantial deviations from the proposed plans and specifications.

This project would ultimately add much-needed units to Maui County’s housing inventory and may help to alleviate the growing affordable housing crisis.

This coming week, the Land Use Committee will hold an additional meeting on Tuesday in Council Chambers. The committee will consider amendments to the county code relating to durational requirements for short-term rental permits, along with enforcement procedures for both bed-and-breakfast and short-term rental homes.

Mahalo!

* Mike White is chair of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.

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