WAILUKU, Maui, Hawaii – Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa is pleased to announce that House Bill 117 will go into effect tomorrow.
HB 117 raises the threshold of projects required to have special management area major permits from $125,000 to $500,000. The new threshold will allow smaller commercial and residential projects to go forward with construction without having to go through a lengthy SMA major permit process.
“I proposed and supported this change because state law needed to be updated for the sake of free enterprise,” said Mayor Arakawa. “For years the cost of materials and labor has risen but this SMA permit threshold has remained the same.
“Now homeowners can remodel their kitchens and store owners can redesign their shops without going through an unnecessary and cumbersome SMA major process.”
Planners across the state showed their support for HB 117, saying that the $125,000 value had not been modified since 1991. Maui County Planning Director William Spence stated that the “existing valuation adds unnecessary costs and delays to property owners, both large and small.”
City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting Director David Tanoue also agreed, and stated in his written testimony that the current threshold was “woefully outdated, unnecessarily burdensome and fundamentally meaningless.”
In the final version of HB 117 state legislators wrote that its purpose was to “expedite and facilitate work on projects that have been or may be stalled due to delays relating to special management area permitting requirements.”
The Legislature incorporated other provisions into the bill. While HB 117 increases the valuation for SMA major permits to $500,000, it also puts a limit on the size of single-family residences that fall within the exemption range. Homes of less than 7,500 square feet, with a valuation of less than $500,000, will be exempt from SMA permitting requirements altogether. Larger homes, depending on their valuation, will still be required to obtain either SMA minor or major permits.
Mayor Arakawa proposed the threshold change as part of the Hawaii Council of Mayor’s legislative package. He said this bill could not have been passed without the hard work of state legislators and Maui County Department of Planning officials.
“Representative Angus McKelvey and his fellow legislators should be congratulated by the entire state for pushing this through,” Arakawa said. “We would also like to thank Senator Glenn Wakai for his hard work introducing the Senate version of this bill, which unfortunately did not pass.
“And many thanks to Planning Director Will Spence and Deputy Director Michele McLean for their invaluable input on the drafting of this bill.”
HONOLULU — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will reopen the Kula State Forest to the public on Friday, July 15, 2011.
The opening is postponed because work will not be completed by the end of June 2011 as earlier anticipated.
Ongoing tree removal and chipping operations on the roadway with heavy equipment continues to make the area unsafe for public access.
The Division of Forestry and Wildlife expects to open the Forest for public use once this activity is completed and the road is made safe for vehicle traffic. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife appreciates the public’s patience during this forest closure.
The Kula State Forest was closed in January 2011 because of winter storm damage that made the environment unsafe for public use. For more information call the Maui DOFAW office at 984-8100.
WAILUKU, Maui, Hawaii – The County of Maui operates its Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility under permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health (“DOH”). The County of Maui has worked cooperatively with state and federal officials to ensure that the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility is in compliance with all permit conditions and all applicable laws in the past, and continues to do so currently.
Part of this cooperative process between the County, the EPA, and DOH includes scientific tracer and seep studies to determine whether a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit is needed for the Lahaina facility. Until those studies are complete, any talk of alleged violations is premature at best.
At this time, EPA has not determined whether an NPDES permit is required. A March 10, 2010 letter from David Albright, EPA Region 9’s Groundwater Officer Manager, advised that “Maui’s operation of the Lahaina WWRF may result in a discharge into navigable waters.” At EPA’s request, the County applied for a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification on May 7, 2010. This certification is a necessary first step in determining whether an NPDES permit is required. Read the application here: 401WaterCertAppScan. The County’s application has not yet been granted, pending further information from on-going scientific studies.
The County is dedicated to protecting the environment and appreciates the work that Earthjustice and other organizations do for the community. In this case, however, their press release may have been misleading. For example, Charles Hunt, the principal investigator for the United States Geologic Survey study quoted in Earthjustice’s press release, has publicly stated that his report “does not determine causes of macroalgal blooms or the role of nutrients in macroalgal growth.” in a letter to the editor published in the Maui News on July 8, 2010. Mr. Hunt further stated that USGS’s studies “have not attempted to determine a connection between wastewater injection and algae.” This letter has also been included as an attachment. Read it here: ChipHuntLetter Editor Maui_News.
The core mission of the County’s wastewater treatment division and its facilities is environmental protection. We are committed to working with the State of Hawaii Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate cost-effective and scientifically reliable methods by which the federal government, the State of Hawaii, and the County of Maui can meet our common goals.
For more information please contact Maui County Communications Director Rod Antone at 270-8222.
Hawaii beachgoers swam in some of the cleanest waters in the nation last year, according to the 21st annual beachwater quality report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Only 3 percent of beachwater samples in Hawaii exceeded health standards in 2010, ranking the state as having the fourth cleanest beachwater in he nation last year. However, water quality ratings varied by island. While only 1 percent of Honolulu’s samples exceeded health standards, rates were 2 percent in Maui and Hawaii County and 8 percent of Kauai’s samples were unhealthy.
The report singled out three Kauai’s beaches as having the dirtiest beachwater in the state including Lumahai Beach (29 percent), Kalihiwai Bay (27 percent ) and Waimea Recreation Pier State Park (24 percent).
Other states with low rates of contamination included: New Hampshire (1 percent), New Jersey (2 percent) Oregon (3 percent) and Delaware (3 percent). Highest offender states included: Louisiana, (37 percent), Ohio (21 percent) and Indiana (16 percent).
The report said about 8 percent of beachwater samples nationwide exceeded public health standards in 2010. Pollution from stormwater runoff and sewage overflows last year contributed to the second-highest number of closing and advisory days in more than two decades, the council said.
Most bacterial contamination occurs during winter, when heavy rains overload storm drains and sewage systems, washing waste into the sea.
Swimming in such pollution can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory and other illnesses and is of particular risk for children and the elderly whose immune systems may not be as strong. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 3.5 million people become ill from contact with raw sewage from overflows every year.
Swimmers are advised not to swim near storm drains or go into the waters within 72 hours of a rain when pollution levels are typically higher.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
NEW YORK >> Bank of America and its Countrywide unit will pay $8.5 billion to settle claims that the lenders sold poor-quality mortgage-backed securities that went sour when the housing market collapsed.
The deal, announced Wednesday, comes after a group of 22 investors demanded that the Charlotte, N.C. bank repurchase $47 billion in mortgages that its Countrywide unit sold to them in the form of bonds.
The group, which includes the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Pimco Investment Management, and Blackrock Financial Management, argued that Countrywide enriched itself at the expense of investors by continuing to service bad loans while running up servicing fees.
Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008 for $4 billion, has denied those claims.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said Wednesday that the settlement would minimize “future economic uncertainty” in the banking business and “clean up the mortgage issues largely stemming from our purchase of Countrywide.”
For several months, Bank of America battled claims based on estimates “that were much different from ours,” Moynihan said. But at this point, it made more sense to settle than to keep fighting, he said.
“We have said consistently if people are reasonable and can get to a reasonable assessment of their claims and it’s in the best interest of shareholders, we will settle,” Moynihan told Wall Street analysts in a conference call.
The settlement is subject to court approval and covers 530 trusts with original principal balance of $424 billion.
Citi analyst Keith Horowitz said the settlement, which amounts to only 2 percent of the original principal balance, removes one of the largest investor risks for Bank of America.
“We think this could prove to be a step forward” for Bank of America, Horowitz said. It would show investors that the bank can manage through crisis without raising additional capital.
As a result of the settlement, Bank of America put its second-quarter loss at $8.6 billion to $9.1 billion. Excluding the settlement and other charges, the bank expects to post a quarterly loss of $3.2 billion to $3.7 billion.
Shares of Bank of America Corp. jumped more than 4 percent, or 48 cents to $11.30 before the market opened, with investors happy that the bank can put very big uncertainty behind it.
Investors may now be more confident that they can get similar concessions from other major U.S. banks that created markets for mortgage-backed securities with questionable pedigrees.
Yet stocks in the financial sector were rising in electronic trading Wednesday, likely because the Bank of America deal presents a framework for others to follow.
MANILA » Flash floods triggered by torrential rains swept away dozens of houses in the southern Philippines and killed at least 25 people, mostly children, officials said today. At least 15 other people were missing.
About 20,000 families were affected by floodwaters when heavy rains swamped six villages in Davao city late Tuesday, overflowing rivers and triggering a deluge that reached 10 feet high in some places, said Liza Bago of the Davao City Social Services and Development Office.
About 1,475 families sought refuge in four emergency shelters, civil military affairs officer Maj. Jake Obligado said. He said at least 15 people were still missing.
Army Lt. Marianette Vinluan said troops who responded to calls for help from the villagers were blocked by the deep and raging floodwaters.
When they finally reached the affected areas early today, they found toppled vehicles, houses and trees, she said.
She said 15 of the dead were children under age 10, including a 9-month-old infant.
“It is muddy here and it is starting to rain again,” she said by telephone from one village. “The sky is dark and the people are scared again.”
Regional civil defense officer Antonio Cloma said at least 50 houses were destroyed and 214 others were damaged.
Copyright © 2015 - Island News Technologies, LLC - All rights reserved