(BIVN) – A rare, joint meeting of the Windward and Leeward Planning Commission was held on Monday. The meeting was stretched over two locations – the council chambers in Hilo and the council chambers in the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kona. Video conferencing was used to connect the two sites.
From the joint Windward/Leeward Planning Commission agenda under new business:
Review and action of proposed amendments to Planning Commission Rule No. 9 regarding the Special Management Area (SMA) in response to Act 153, which amended Chapter 205A, Hawai’i Revised Statutes regarding the Special Management Area. These proposed amendments seek to exempt the State Division of Boating and Ocean from any SMA permit, amend the definition of single-family dwelling as an exempt class of action, and increase the valuation of improvements that could be considered exempt from the SMA requirements. Additional amendments offered include language regarding retroactive approvals and determinations and clarification of authorities, establishing a filing fee for SMA assessment applications and defining its standard acceptance, review and action timeframes, clarifying the short form assessment application process, and establishing a minimum distance necessary to qualify for a Director-issued waiver of the submission of a certified shoreline survey.
The proposal drew a handful of testifiers at both sites. Many told the commissions that they hoped any changes regarding the Special Management Area permit process would result in greater transparency and opportunity for public input.