Goodfellow Brothers receives 20-year extension on land use permit
The 2013-14 year began yesterday for the Molokai Planning Commission with the re-election of John Sprinzel as chairman and the selection of Michael Jennings as vice-chairman of the Commission.
The MoPC then passed a resolution thanking Lori Buchanan for completing two terms as a commissioner. Buchanan was known as a vocal defender of Molokai who always did her homework and asked tough questions of any applicant that came before the MoPC. As the founder of the Molokai subcommittee of the Maui Invasive Species Committee, Buchanan always paid extra attention to any proposal that may have an environmental impact. Even when a permit applicant anticipated a “finding of no significant impact,” Buchanan still investigated and questioned every detail of a project’s environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.
Sitting in her place at the end of the table at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center was Buchanan’s uncle, Billy Buchanan, the newest member of the MoPC. A native of Molokai, Uncle Billy works as the resident manager at Molokai Shores and has been involved in homesteading issues over the years.
“Being a native of the island and seeing the present situation, with everybody having different needs and wants, I though maybe I could participate in any initiatives that would help,” said Buchanan.
Buchanan, who has homestead land in the Pala’au area, spent 20 years in Washington State. Buchanan said he wants to help “keep Molokai Molokai” but also believes Molokai can benefit from different perspectives. “I learned a lot about what they have available there and what they do and will try to apply it here,” he said.
“The overall picture for me is to try to do something to assist our subsistence lifestyle so that we can afford to do more things,” he said.
Economic independence is a big part of the solution for Molokai, Buchanan believes. “Shipping is a problem. If a farmer wants to farm and grow big he can’t grow big (because) he can’t afford to ship the product off the island, it’s not economically feasible.”
Buchanan said he cares about preserving the rural nature of Molokai while also striking a balance that will help create jobs. “The bottom line is financial strength,” he added. “Everybody needs money to start something to make something work. And that’s another area we need to work on.”
“I always think that there’s so much can be done but we’re just going in too many directions all at once,” he added. He said we need to focus on priorities “to a point where we can get things done and not be so spread out.”
Another new member of the MoPC, Diane Swenson, will fill the ninth and final seat once all of her paperwork gets through the system.
The first action by this new Commission was to approve a special use permit for Goodfellow Brothers Inc. that will allow it to continue its rock quarry operation.
Goodfellow Brothers has been using crushed rock from the quarry in Pala’au ever since Dale Moore started the Molokai operation 40 years ago. Over the years, Goodfellow Brothers has been part of many major projects, including highway paving and construction, landfills, Molokai General Hospital, Molokai Airport and all four elementary schools.
The State Land Use Commission special permit for the 14.9-acre quarry on agricultural land expired in 2011 even though Goodfellow Brothers requested an extension in a timely manner. With the application in order — and having met all the conditions of maintaining the road to the quarry and its surrounding fence — the MoPC unanimously agreed to the 20-year extension. Commissioners Zhantell Dudoit and Janice Kalanihuia were absent from the meeting and did not vote.
Manager at Goodfellow Brothers, Todd Svetin, said the company has received no complaints about its quarry operation. County officials confirmed that they also have received no complaints. The company employs 13 people and plans to expand, said Svetin, as it pursues a taxiway resurfacing project at Molokai Airport and a water system improvement project in Ualapue.
The commissioners then received their first orientation workshop of the new session, reviewing the planning and zoning framework they follow as well as the environmental and legal issues they must consider in making decisions.