Construction of a wheelchair access ramp for a condo at Ke Nani Kai received approval from the Molokai Planning Commission on Wednesday.
At 9:30 on Wednesday morning the planning commissioners visited Ke Nani Kai after having deferred making a decision two weeks ago on this Special Management Area minor permit. At the previous meeting, several neighbors at Ke Nani Kai had testified that the proposed ramp would create access and maintenance problems even if it was compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
At the commissioners site visit, they were presented with an alternative ramp and wheelchair lift plan designed by architect Art Paar. Apparently, the new plan was less obtrusive and was still ADA compliant.
Ke Nani Kai resident Jody Canady said the original ramp plan extends about 145 feet from the building and could have a significant impact on other residents. “What it’s going to do is impact three or four other units and make it very difficult for them,” said Canady. She said they are planning to put a wall in front of the condo which is “overkill.”
Canady and her husband Darryl Canady, a member of the Maui County Urban Design Review Board, both believe a less invasive solution could have been found. The approved plan requires digging out an entire hill and will create drainage issues as well as potential problems with lighting and underground wiring. Resident of Unit 234, Erico Takeuchi, testified that she will lose privacy as a newly built raised sidewalk will allow people to see in her bedroom.
Upon returning to the Mitchell Pau’ole Center for the regular noon meeting, the commissioners accepted more testimony and information on the application and then went into executive session. Commissioners then approved the permit after being advised by corporate counsel to either accept or reject the original application.