COUNCIL’S 3 MINUTES
By: Tamara Paltin
Published in The Maui News August 14, 2021
Draft West Maui Community Plan represents residents’ vision and priorities
We never really know where life will take us. It’s a never-ending path of choices, and any one choice can have the power to change the trajectory of your life. That’s why it’s important to have a plan.
For me, public office wasn’t where I envisioned myself early on, but there was an unsettling concern and deep sense of kuleana to my community that drove me to run for the council’s West Maui residency seat back in 2018.
My purpose has always been to give a voice to our local people and to collaborate toward solutions that create a better quality of life for our residents; solutions that are at the intersection of protecting our culture, ecology and economy.
Over 15 years ago, my path in politics was ignited when I first learned of the proposed development of 40 luxury homes and a golf course overlooking the world-renowned Honolua Bay.
This led to the creation of the Save Honolua Coalition and the monumental acquisition, which resulted in a victory for West Maui that ensured the protection and preservation of one of the most iconic landmarks in Hawai‘i.
This is where my commitment to public service began and when I realized it would be my kuleana to do everything I could to protect and preserve my home.
In 2017, the intensive process of updating the West Maui Community Plan began. Now, four years later, I’m excited to share that our Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee (PSLU) has completed its review.
Moving forward, the anxiously anticipated draft plan will be available for public review soon. A public hearing will take place to allow for additional public testimony, and then the plan is on to the full council for two readings and final approval.
The West Maui Community Plan guides future development and revitalization, from Ukumehame to Honokōhau. It is a policy guide; informing decisions about the character of new development, land use, parks and infrastructure over the next 20 years.
As established under Chapter 2.80B of the Maui County Code, the update is significantly different from the 1996 plan, and was written and structured to address the interconnection of many issues.
This document builds upon extensive community input, coordination with county and state departments and best planning practices to promote complete, healthy and resilient communities.
The plan addresses key issues identified through the review process:
- How will West Maui ensure adequate services?
- Where will new residents live?
- Will new residential growth lead to economic growth and better jobs?
- How will West Maui manage traffic?
- How will climate change affect West Maui’s future?
- How does West Maui mālama it’s natural resources?
Another notable change is the streamlining of land use designations to better represent the vision and goals desired by the West Maui community and to guide growth and preservation decisions. The plan reflects plenty of areas for residential and mixed-use development, while encouraging targeted redevelopment in areas that are close to services and transportation options.
The draft plan is structured with five goals, each supported with specific action items:
- Ready and resilient systems;
- A complete, balanced and connected transportation network;
- Responsible stewardship of resource, culture and character;
- Economic opportunity through innovation and collaboration; and
- Safe, healthy, livable communities for all.
While this plan represents a wholistic vision for West Maui, it’s important for residents to understand this is not a document that will sit on a shelf. It will be up to all of us to continue advocating and participating in the process to ensure funding is prioritized to support this plan.
I am extremely grateful for the Department of Planning, Maui Planning Commission, West Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) and the cooperation and support of my fellow councilmembers for allowing my PSLU Committee time on the council calendar to expedite the review process.
Most important, mahalo to our community for their invaluable mana‘o and kōkua in creating a plan we can all be proud of.
* Tamara Paltin is chair of the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee. She holds the County Council seat for the West Maui residency area. “Council’s 3 Minutes” is a column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.
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