When the Molokai Planning Commission met today for its regular meeting, newly recommended appointee DeGray Vanderbilt was not filling one of the nine commissioner seats at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center.
Instead, the MoPC considered a permit request to extract cinder from a site in Kaluakoi and changes to the county zoning code without the benefit of Vanderbilt’s years on the commission and deep involvement with many Molokai issues.
Two weeks ago, The Maui County Council Policy Committee voted 5-2 to recommend Vanderbilt’s appointment. The committee had postponed a vote in April on Vanderbilt when he came under fire from critics claiming that he is anti-business and confrontational.
Vanderbilt, who served as chairman of the MoPC in 2007, told the Maui County council yesterday that his withdrawal has nothing to do with the recent criticism he has received. The Molokai Chamber of Commerce and a few other Molokai residents wrote letters opposing his appointment.
“I don’t want this issue to compromise the planning commission going forward,” he told council members. “I’ve tried my best to serve Molokai.”
According to The Maui News, Vanderbilt made this decision after after meeting with Council Chairman Danny Mateo, who holds the Molokai residency seat.
Vanderbilt told the council members that he’s not “anti-everything,” despite what was said about him in a letter from the Maui Chamber of Commerce.
He added that he believes he’s on the “same page” as about 85 percent of Molokai residents, although maybe he’s not the one to bring everyone together.
Vanderbilt’s nomination had been challenged on the basis of residency. Although he has not spent as much time on Molokai over the past couple of years as he has in the past, the Maui County clerk did verify he has been a Molokai registered voter since 1984.