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Advisory committees, pilot program pass at council

The Maui News

A bill that would establish advisory committees for Paia-Haiku and Kihei-Makena passed on first reading during a Maui County Council meeting on Tuesday.

The committees would advise the Maui Planning Commission on issues within the Paia-Haiku and Kihei-Makena community plan areas, according to a news release from Council Member Mike Molina, who proposed the bill. They are modeled after the Hana Advisory Committee, which was created in 1989 to advise the planning commission on East Maui issues.

The proposed bill would authorize the committees to provide recommendations to the commission, hold public hearings on behalf of the commission and carry out such duties as assigned by the commission.

“Some have raised concerns that advisory committees may extend the review process of planning permits,” Molina said. “If implemented properly the functions of the advisory committees could replace certain duties of the commission and remove any duplication in the processing of permits.”

The bill would also revise the appointment process to the advisory committees, with the council nominating and approving five members and the mayor appointing two.

It still requires a second reading at a future council meeting.

On Tuesday, the council also accepted an invitation from Local Government for Sustainability to join the Circle City Scan Pilot Project, which aims to help five municipalities transition to a circular economy.

The resolution, which was introduced by Council Member Kelly King and passed by a 7-0 vote, explained that a circular economy decouples economic growth from environmental degradation. It identifies four steps in the pilot project:

• Socio-economic analysis to ensure a focus on relevant and impactful sectors.

• Material-flow analysis to identify the most significant opportunities for circularity and positive impact.

• Exploration of an array of possible circular strategies and their potential impacts.

• Action plan to implement the circular strategies and elaborate on the next steps.

The resolution also commits the council to working with the Mayor’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resilience and other executive-branch agencies to support the county’s participation in the project.

“Partnering with Local Governments for Sustainability on this pilot project is another important step in the County of Maui’s efforts to take action on climate change and environmental protection,” King said in a news release Tuesday. “I thank my colleagues for accepting the invitation to join this innovative and prestigious project and look forward to working with Mayor Victorino and the executive branch in taking tangible steps to establish a circular economy.”

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