UH releases latest draft of proposed administrative rules for Maunakea Science Reserve

  • Associated Press Observatories atop Maunakea are seen in this 2015 file photo.

The University of Hawaii has released revisions to its proposed administrative rules for the Maunakea Science Reserve.

UH released its initial draft last year, but went back to the drawing board on several items in response to public comments.

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One of the proposed changes involves use of four-wheel drive vehicles.

With the earlier draft, vehicles would be required to be equipped with low-range four-wheel drive to travel on Maunakea Access Road above Halepohaku. That was replaced with a prohibition of two-wheel drive vehicles above Halepohaku, which would appear to have the same effect.

Additionally, the new draft would prohibit use of bicycles above Halepohaku.

The latest draft also makes changes to issues testifiers thought could impact cultural practices.

For instance, a section on audio devices and noise was amended to specifically prohibit uses that impact resources. UH says it received many concerns about noise prohibitions restricting chanting and singing.

Another section on traditional and customer rights was removed because of concerns that it regulates Hawaiian culture. UH said the section was drafted with consultation with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Testifiers also expressed concern with permitting requirements for groups or assemblies.

The revised version removes “group use” and “permits for public assemblies and meetings” from the list of permits. Instead of a permit, completion of a registration form would be required.

The science reserve consists of 11,288 acres of Maunakea.

The new draft can be viewed at www.hawaii.edu/news/2019/02/12/university-seeks-comments-informal-draft-maunakea-rules/.

The deadline for informal comments is March 15. Another round of public meetings is anticipated for the first quarter of 2019.

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Comments can be submitted by email to MKRules@hawaii.edu.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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