The Maui County guidelines designed to preserve the character of town areas do not apply to the improvement plans of Paddlers’ Inn, the Molokai Planning Commission decided on July 25.
Jerry Johnson, owner of the Kaunakakai restaurant and bar along with the property itself, asked the MoPC to reconsider the denial of the Maui County Urban Design Review Board. The appeal asks for an approval of a project to build a permanent roof over the 2,384 square-foot patio area and a 7,300 square-foot parking area with 28 parking stalls.
The county originally denied the plan because it did not conform with the Molokai Country Town Design Guidelines developed between 1992 and 1994. The pitch of the roof was not steep enough and the construction materials did not meet the requirements of the guidelines.
“The roof definitely looks country,” said Michael Helm, who has worked at Paddlers’ since it first opened. “I’m not sure how much more country it can get.” Helm also mentioned the importance of this improvement to the 30 or so people on Molokai who work at Paddlers’.
Moku Buchanan, another longtime Paddlers’ employee, also testified about the need for these improvements. “This fits our lifestyle,” said Buchanan. “I can’t see spending more money on this because the people on Maui don’t think it fits.” The improvements will beautify the property and give it a cleaner look, Buchanan added.
Johnson testified that a gabled, pitched roof didn’t make sense because it would block the sun for the businesses that occupy the building’s second floor. “The roof can’t be done any other way that I could think of.”
Johnson also discussed the drainage requirements and dust control and mitigation. Using an environmentally safe product known as Soiltech, Johnson said the dust created by the project will stay under control.
John Sprinzel, chairman of the MoPC, pointed out that the Urban Design Review Board is required to comply with the Molokai Country Town Design Guidelines in its decision making. The MoPC, however, is not compelled to follow these guidelines, he added.
After unanimously agreeing to allow this variance from the design guidelines, the MoPC then voted to grant the required Special Management Area minor permit. The project is valued at $105,000.
Earlier in the July 25 meeting, the MoPC welcomed two new members. Douglas Rogers, a Molokai contractor for 20 years, will fill one of the vacancies. Michael Jennings, the former manager at the Kaluakoi Golf Course and the current Ke Nani Kai Condominium manager, will fill the other space.
After finishing its regular business, the commissioners, both new and old, sat through an orientation workshop reviewing the applicable laws and rules for members of the planning commission.