Friday, November 9, 2007

Molokai Planning Commission May be Shooting Itself in the Foot with La’au Point Testimony before State Land Use Commission

La’au Point is located on the Island of Molokai which is mostly owned by the Molokai Ranch. The Ranch has proposed developing a small portion of the area, but some Molokai residents adamantly protest any development on the island, especially at La’au Point.

The Molokai Times reports that the MoPC has decided that it will testify at the La'au LUC hearings for a state district boundary amendment on Nov. 15 and 16. A district boundary amendment is just the first step of a proposed development. The LUC is charged with granting a district boundary amendment; however, the MoPC is charged with, among other things, granting special management area permits (if this project is in the SMA) and making zoning recommendations to the Maui County Council.

That a decision-maker should remain impartial and implement the laws and rules that guide its decisions is sacrosanct in our democratic form of government. Not surprisingly, it is reflected in the MoPC’s rules under §12-301-21, Disclosure of Conflict, which provides that members may be disqualified from voting. By testifying and taking a position on the development, the MoPC will prejudice its role as decision-makers later in the process.

When it comes time for the MoPC to make decisions related to the project, most of its members may be disqualified from voting.

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