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Breaking News


New county planning director appointed

  • Contributed photo

    Current county Planning Department Deputy Director Kaaina Hull next week becomes the department director.

LIHUE — Kauai County Planning Department Deputy Director Kaaina Hull will take over as planning director starting next week. Hull will replace the department’s current director, Michael Dahilig, who is vacating the position Dec. 3, the same day Mayor-elect Derek Kawakami takes office.

Following an executive session during Monday’s Planning Commission meeting, the commissioners offered the position to Hull and confirmed his appointment in a unanimous vote.

Hull has been with the planning department for more than a decade. He spent over seven years as a planner with the county before being appointed deputy director three years ago.

Hull accepted the commission’s offer with a short speech, thanking the commission and saying he is “humbled and honored” by the appointment. He also praised Dahilig in his role as director.

“He basically accomplished 20 years of work in eight years,” Hull said of his former boss.

But Hull did not accept the appointment unconditionally. Before agreeing to take the job, Hull asked the commission to allow him to return to his position as planner with the county after his term as director ends.

“Some people may have an issue with that, quite honestly,” Hull told the commission but inisisted there is nothing unethical about the request. He said that job security was an important consideration for him when deciding whether to take the position and feared that a position with the county might no longer be available by the time he decides to step down as director.

“In 20 years, I still want to be a planner,” Hull said.

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Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cloehrer@thegardenisland.com.

10 Comments
  1. alien November 28, 2018 7:39 am Reply

    So, you have been part of the planning dept? Seems we have been lacking a good planning dept when I look around at the growth and traffic of our island. What are you gonna change cause the current model is obviously not working.


  2. Charlie Chimknee November 28, 2018 9:55 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    An enormous problem that hopefully will be corrected by the new Planning Director is the outrageous long time it takes to get a building permit on Kaua’i.

    Oahu has been having the same problem but has recently made an ordinance that building permits must be provided within 2 months.

    On Kaua’i 500 square foot houses in Anahola have taken up to 2 years to get a permit after plans were submitted even with profesional engineering certification provided. Many other projects are taking over a year to get a permit on Kaua’i. A 500 sq foot house is the size of a guest house and is what we can call Affordable Housing or a starter house for a family. Architects and engineers say a 500 sq foot house plans can be checked for needed corrections in a few hours. Not months. Already Health and the Fire Departments permits for same houses are as quick as expected. It is the repeated bouncing back and forth between planning, engineering, and building departments that contributes to delays; and this is with outside engineers already signing and certifying the plans and by virtue of that the engineer is accepting responsibility for the plan.

    Yet whatever is wrong with the permit process on Kaua’i we can hope that the new Planning Director will solve this problem. An incentive would be after 2 months wait the county pays for the permit, and a 4 month wait or longer makes the county pay a % of the outstanding loans or construction costs of the project.

    And that is part of the issues, permits taking too long cost the applicant, home owner, contractor, architect, engineer, lost income waiting because of wasted loan payments while nothing is getting done even jeopardizing default on a loan or expiration of a construction or land loan. Bankruptcy comes to mind, and professional people not being paid until permits are granted or construction completed is a financial,set back for them as well to support their families.

    As well, Construction workers get laid off because the job does not start and unemployment extended or cut off…even unnecessary costs to the State for unemployment payments.

    The trickle down of delayed permits is enormous on Kaua’i with as many as up to 200 permits waiting in line and perhaps combined losses running to the millions of lost dollars for wishful home builders and their profesional people they are relying on.

    Perhaps homes of 1,000 sq feet or less should be handled until completed in a few hours by 1 person in each DEPT…planning, building, engineering. Bigger Homes up to 2500 sq.feet, by another plan checker, and so on and so forth up to mega size homes being built by off island not yet residents. Mixing a local family’s 500 sq foot house in with and waiting in line behind a developers 25 to 50 two thousand square foot homes is out of proportion to affordable housing needs and an appropriate permitting process. Developers should have dedicated large project plan checkers.

    Let’s hope the county will give Mr. Hull, the new Planning Director, as much leeway as possible to bring the permitting process into good working order. Affordable Housing process should be the job of the Planning Director as well.

    To make this happen, applicants should be made to pay for their permits in advance to pay for the permitting staff to be paid. Permit costs, are they prices at square foot values?

    Mahalo,

    Charles


  3. Strand November 28, 2018 11:22 am Reply

    Once again, appointing a GOBAG with no education in Planning, not a licensed planner, not a planner with experience, just someone with an undergraduate degree from Berkeley in Film and Politics and drinking buddies with the right people.

    Good grief, the County Comedy Continues, new leadership, old ways.


  4. Bethany Freudenthal November 28, 2018 11:35 am Reply

    It should be noted that Dahilig isn’t simply vacating his post. He’ll be the new County Manager.


  5. kimo November 28, 2018 11:37 am Reply

    “Hull has been with the planning department for more than a decade.”

    Does this mean you are part of the problem or will become part of the solution? I hope the latter.


  6. WestKauai November 28, 2018 4:23 pm Reply

    Don’t expect too much from Hull. He was in lockstep with Dahilig, both full of themselves and promoting the obstructionist policies of the Planning Department while “guiding” the Planning Commission. Likely no positive change will happen. Sorry, Charlie…


  7. I saw a Vampire once November 28, 2018 10:10 pm Reply

    You working together with Milliionaires, am I correct? And you work together with the county councimembers and mayor? DOT for added traffic will have to have their input. For example housing complex in Koloa that they had planned. Any issues coming from this development has to be small and not important enough. So money will be the main driving force for being involved with the planning department. Do you still take into account the county council’s input knowing full well that they don’t got it and they lack intelligence when dealing with the problems coming from the complex development? Of course you don’t. Here ‘s where the problem is at. Some councilmen will be totally lost and don’t know jack shit. While others have already done their home work and able to participate in the discussions with the millionaires.

    Building codes; what if they ask someone how much it cost for the added feature on the parking structure and that person replies, you don’t have enough money. Do you still comply? bill him for the added cost of the feature in the parking structure? This is about money. Quite frankly, I don’t think any of your county council can go up and up with a millionaire. Now what do you do? He is going to add it anyway with out the county council’s approval.

    This a money issue. No one is rich as this guy. Still a discussion with your poor fellows in the government or agency? I think so.


  8. Dt November 28, 2018 10:20 pm Reply

    Let’s be real Charles. There is no incentive to get any work done at any level top to bottom (with the exception of those who need to be re-elected). Never will there be. You either have to grease palms or have a cousin with a greasy palm to get anything done.


  9. Broc May 8, 2019 2:25 pm Reply

    You are spot on with these two guys. A Hui is being put together of very educated, informed residents of Kauai to bring a lawsuit against the county and these guys. If anyone reading this has something to contribute against the county planning department and these two men, speak out! Contact attorney Greg Kugle on Oahu who is working on the case and looking to take it all the way to the federal courts if needed. We will expose these crooks soon and for those who think that the mayor is not corrupt!? The evidence is there and will be exposed on him also. We are coming to get you Dereck K. You will not make it to far on Kauai and much less as our governor!


  10. Brocc May 8, 2019 2:29 pm Reply

    You are spot on with these two guys. A Hui is being put together of very educated, informed residents of Kauai to bring a lawsuit against the county and these guys. If anyone reading this has something to contribute against the county planning department and these two men, speak out! Contact attorney Greg Kugle on Oahu who is working on the case and looking to take it all the way to the federal courts if needed. We will expose these crooks soon and for those who think that the mayor is not corrupt!? The evidence is there and will be exposed on him also. We are coming to get you Dereck K. You will not make it to far on Kauai and much less as our governor!


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