Molokai Planning Commission overturns Maui County rejection of design for new Friendly Market warehouse
The Molokai Planning Commission meeting Wednesday once again showed that the gap between Maui and Molokai is actually much wider than the Pailolo Channel.
Friendly Market has been jumping through regulatory hoops since April of 2010 to receive permission from Maui County to build a new warehouse and loading dock, according to Luigi Manera of Architectural Drafting Services. Manera submitted an appeal to the most recent decision by the Maui County Planning Department to reject the modified project plans.
The most recent plan for the 7,544-square foot warehouse were submitted to Maui County on Sept. 13, 2012 and rejected for not conforming to the design guidelines for Country Town Business District for Molokai.
Maui County’s Urban Design Review Board looked at the new plans in May and made recommended changes. When Manera revised the design in June, the Planning Department still rejected the plan because the guidelines call for stucco siding as opposed to metal siding.
According to Manera, changing the siding material would cost the project an additional $600,000. In his letter of appeal, Manera noted that the project offers “visual conformity” to the existing businesses in Kaunakakai, many of which use metal siding.
Former Molokai Planning Commissioner Lori Buchanan was the first to testify in favor of the appeal. She questioned whether the UDRB comments were suggestions or requirements and said it would be “justified” to repeal the decision.
Francis Feeter favored the appeal as well, testifying that the Planning Department “put the regulations before the needs of the community.”
Bill Feeter testified about the need for a new warehouse. “It is essential we have a place to store our food in cases of emergency.”
Maui County Councilmember Stacy Crivello echoed the sentiments of the previous speakers in her testimony. “We need to support this application for this building to become a reality.”
By unanimous vote, the MoPC approved the reconsideration of the design plan. After discussion, the commissioners decided that the plan maintains the “design integrity” of the Kaunakakai business district.
The commissioners then approved a special use permit needed to build and operate the new warehouse.
The final action needed for the project to move forward was for the MoPC to approve a Special Management Area minor permit, which it did unanimously.
Solar panels at Kaluakoi Villas
Manera appeared before the commissioners a second time to represent the West Molokai Resort in its application to install 14 solar panels across seven water boiler systems for units at Kaluakoi Villas. The commissioners agreed to exempt the condo association from an SMA assessment that would normally be needed.
Who will fix the road?
A request from Tri-L Construction for a special use permit turned into an extended discussion on who is responsible for maintaining the dirt road that leads from Maunaloa to Hale O Lono Harbor.
Tri-L Construction needs the permit to continue its Waiele cinder extraction operation. Cinder is carried by truck down a short road across Molokai Ranch property that connects the quarry to the main road. Because the State Department of Transportation nor Molokai Ranch has made any effort to maintain the road, the commissioners expressed concern about the possible impact of this operation.
Buchanan testified about her concern over the lack of oversight on special use permits. She suggested that commissioners consider amending the conditions on the permit to include maintaining the road “because no one else is taking responsibility for this.”
Darryl Leer of Tri-L Construction explained that, “the road is a can of worms that no one wants to deal with.” He said Tri-L will continue to maintain the road as much as needed so its trucks can travel through at 15-20 mph. He said liability concerns prevent the company from being held legally responsible for maintaining a road that is not on their property. If this condition was included, Leer said it would create problems with their insurance carrier and would make the project impossible.
Commissioner Zhantell Dudoit expressed concern about issuing a special use permit “if we don’t know who is responsible for the road?” Dudoit made a motion to defer action until the commissioners could conduct a site visit to determine the potential impact of the operation. The motion was not seconded.
The State Land Use Commission Special Use Permit was extended to Tri-L until 2020 by an MoPC vote of 6-1. Dudoit voted against the motion while Commissioner Billy Buchanan abstained. Janice Kalanihuia was the only member of the MoPC absent from Wednesday’s meeting.