Monday, December 21, 2009

No More "Haberdasheries" in the Maui County Zoning Code

Maui County planning director, Jeff Hunt, is embarking on an ambitious plan to streamline Maui County's Zoning Code, which is codified at MCC Chapter 19.

In an open letter to the community, Hunt lists the various streamlining efforts his department has accomplished, including creating additional EIS exemptions, SMA blanket exemptions for certain small projects, and a dual permitting system that prevents over-the-counter permits from being tied up with more complex permits. A more recent part of this effort is revising Maui's Zoning Code, which has been the subject of ire from the development community for decades.  Some describe the code as being draconian and outdated.

In pushing these streamlining measures through, the first step is review, public hearings, and recommendations by the planning commissions (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai). Hunt's June 11, 2009 letter to the Commissions outlines some of those recommended changes. Changes in the June 11, 2009 proposal primarily focuses on adding provisions to the residential district to allow renewable energy systems, home based businesses, and lot coverage requirements.

The Maui Planning Commission recently heard several streamling proposals at its December 8, 2009 meeting. Hunt presented several proposed bills that would update and simplify the County’s business district. According to the agenda, "the updates provide for improved useability, adding mixed uses to commercial districts, and including transient vacation rental, small scale energy facilities, and residential uses." In particular, the proposed bills will amend the Country Town Business Districts, B-1 Neighborhood District, B-2 Community Business District, B-3 Central Business District, and B-R Commercial District.

Once through the Planning Commissions, these measures must be considered by the Council's Planning Committee, be open to public hearings, and finally voted on in Council.

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