Maui Takes Lead in Federally Funded Post-Disaster Plan

January 30, 2013, 10:52 AM HST · Updated January 30, 12:03 PM
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Tsunami effects at Kahului Harbor, March 11, 2011. By Wendy Osher.

Tsunami effects at Kahului Harbor, March 11, 2011. By Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

Maui County will take the lead on a two-year, $178,000 federally-funded project to develop guidelines and protocols for reconstruction after natural disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said the county is the first in the state, and among few municipalities in the country to work on the development of rules that govern post-disaster development, permitting, and construction.

“The last thing anyone needs after their home is damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster is a permitting process that fails to take emergency conditions into account,” said Arakawa.

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“Residents and homeowners should not be penalized or delayed when it comes to repairing or rebuilding after such events.”

Maui Planning Director Will Spence thanked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Grant Coastal Storms Program for providing the funding saying the study will update the county’s permit process to make it more responsive to natural disaster situations.

The grant proposal noted three objectives:

  • to raise awareness and support for pre-disaster planning;
  • to involve remote and under-served communities; and
  • to develop reconstruction guidelines and protocols for response and recovery.

The project is aimed at establishing reconstruction guidelines and protocols, a streamlined approval process for post-disaster reconstruction, and improved capacity to protect coastal resources after major coastal storm events.

County officials say funds will be used in part for inter-island travel, outreach efforts, community meetings, research and consulting services. This includes travel to Kauai to meet with individuals involved with the recovery efforts after Hurricanes Iwa and Iniki, as well as to Molokai and Lanai.

The project is being spearheaded by local UH Sea Grant Extension Agent Tara Owens and lead Shoreline Planner Jim Buika. A working group has also been assembled to include the County’s Department of Public Works and Civil Defense Agency.

***Supporting information courtesy County of Maui.

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