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Maui Island Plan Moves Toward Completion

Council reviews document that will help shape policy for the island for the next 20 years.

October 20, 2011
Melanie Stephens , The Maui Weekly

It is impossible to see the future, but we can envision how we want it to be and we can commit to doing all that is possible to see that our dreams and desires come true." So states the preamble to the draft Maui Island Plan (MIP), now being reviewed by the Maui County Council, updating the last MIP finished in 1990.

A committee of 25 residents from all regions of the island worked for three years as the General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC), gathering input from the public to create this state-mandated, 20-year plan. Professional planners wrote the original version passed on to the committee. Approximately 500 to 600 members of the public weighed in from around Maui with testimony to guide the plan. The Planning Commission, Planning Department and County Council Planning Committee each reviewed and edited the proposed plan created by the MIP drafters. The results of this three-year project are now before the County Council, which hopes to complete its review by November and vote on it by December or early 2012.

On Sept. 12, Lucienne de Naie, one of the 25 GPAC members, offered an overview of the first half of the plan at an Upcountry Sustainability event in Pukalani. Having described the aforementioned process of the plan, de Naie continued by explaining how important this document is and will continue to be for policy-making in the next 20 years, and how crucial it is for the public to contribute to this plan.

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On Sept. 12, Lucienne de Naie, one of the 25 General Plan Advisory Committee members, offered an overview of the first half of the Maui Island Plan at an Upcountry Sustainability event in Pukalani. De Naie explained how important this document is and will continue to be for policy-making in the next 20 years, and how crucial it is for the public to contribute to this plan.

"Most of the things we care about, including making plans for our children's futures, and our own everyday lives, is in this plan," said de Naie. "What we decide today will affect us 40 to 50 years into the future. This is a community-based blueprint with goals, policies and actions, which our laws then become based on."

"We based our draft on a view of Maui as environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable, with clean, safe, livable communities and small towns that will protect and perpetuate a pono lifestyle for individuals and families, now and in the future," De Naie added.

The MIP includes sections on "Population," "Heritage Resources," "Natural Hazards," "Economic Development," "Housing, Infrastructure and Public Facilities," "Land Use," "Directed Growth," and a "Long Range Implementation Plan." Both the draft MIP narrative and the draft "Map Book" can be viewed at www.co.maui.hi.us.

De Naie stated that concerning all of these issues, the drafters had overarching goals they hoped would guide the plan, which can be seen in the MIP "Executive Summary:"

"A Directed Growth Strategy that determines where urban growth will and will not take place;

Protection of Maui's Small Towns and Rural Character- "keeping the country, country" as desired by many citizens who spoke up;

Affordable Housing for our workforce and families who grew up on Maui;

The Protection of Watersheds and Coastal Resources to ensure fresh water and healthy coral reefs;

The Identification of Transit Corridors to anticipate the need for roads and/or rails without displacing any homes;

Economic Diversification in order to expand beyond the visitor industry to such areas as high technology, renewable energy, local agriculture, health care entertainment and education;

The Integration of Land Use and Infrastructure Planning so that infrastructure changes can include all aspects of Maui's long-term goals, cost effectively and efficiently."

"A plan as all-encompassing and crucial as this one takes a lot of cooperation and willingness to meld different viewpoints into workable solutions," said De Naie. "Before the council ever saw the plan, so many differences were talked through and ironed out. The council knows that hundreds of ideas and concerns are included in this draft."

"You don't want to watch sausage or legislation being made," quipped Planning Department Director Will Spence. He agrees there is inherent tension in any community plan that exists between protecting the environment and affording a healthy community and economic growth.

The "Executive Summary" acknowledges this tension, describing the number one priority of almost everyone who participated:

" to maintain the small towns and open countryside that is such a large part of who and what Maui is, while at the same time providing vibrant urban areas that will provide an equally positive quality of life for those who make their lives in our larger towns.

"There is no conflict in these two goals. However, unless we hold these goals in equal esteem, we could sacrifice one goal to the other"

De Naie hopes that citizens will learn about the plan and weigh in before time runs out. She cited the vision held by the committee members: "Our vision is one of hope, based on the values held by those who live on the land-hope that our decisions will keep the land, the people and our heritage healthy and productive."

Next week, some of the issues and concerns that have arisen in the final stages of the MIP consideration will be discussed.

 
 
 

 

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