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Sign Guidelines in Lahaina Historical District Under Review

June 20, 2014, 9:36 AM HST · Updated June 20, 11:31 AM
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Lahaina, Maui. Maui Now graphic.

Lahaina, Maui. Maui Now graphic.

By Maui Now Staff

Revisions to design guidelines for signs in the Lahaina Historic District will be discussed at an at upcoming meeting of the Maui Cultural Resources Commission.

The commission is scheduled to discuss the item at a series of meetings, the first of which is set to take place at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 3, in the Planning Department Conference Room in Wailuku.

According to a CRC announcement, the commission will discuss revisions to the guidelines “so that they will be more clear and consistent, allow a broader choice of materials and design elements, and can be more easily enforced.”

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Permits from the Department of Planning are required for commercial signs in the Lahaina Historic Districts, with exceptions granted by the CRC.

Planning Director Will Spence said the updates are “long overdue.” In a commission-issued press release he said that he hopes the meetings will inform the public about the new guidelines and encourage compliance once they are adopted. “We are working to balance competing interests – the need for businesses to advertise and promote themselves, and the need to preserve the historic integrity of the Lahaina Historic Districts,” said Spence.

In the current June 2014 draft of the guidelines, many existing business signs would be in violation.

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According to the commission announcement, the design guidelines were last revised in 2001, and are based largely on the “Architectural Style Book for Lahaina” that was adopted by the then-Historic Commission in 1969.

“These guidelines provide detail for allowable materials, colors, fonts and other design elements,” said Deputy Planning Director Michele McLean in the press release. “However, they contain contradictions and are focused almost completely on the whaling theme rather than allowing signs that are characteristic of Lahaina’s many other historic periods.”

Department officials say they will proceed with enforcement of unpermitted and illegal signs once the new guidelines are in place. “In the meantime, however, certain illegal signs that are specifically prohibited, such as lighted signs and portable signs, will continue to be cited,” the announcement said.

The proposed guidelines can be found online.

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