Planning Office to Scale Back Public Service Hours

August 12, 2019, 3:12 PM HST (Updated August 12, 2019, 3:12 PM)
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The Hawai‘i County Planning Department plans to scale back public service hours in West Hawai‘i on a “temporary basis” in order to alleviate an application and permit processing backlog, according to a county press release.

The department’s West Hawai‘i office in Kailua-Kona will close the front counter on Fridays for in-person consultations and inquiries from the public effective Aug. 23, 2019, until Dec. 20, 2019. The public is welcome to come in for in-person assistance Monday through Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during this period, the release continued.

The Planning Department’s East Hawai‘i office in Hilo will continue to serve members of the public at the front counter during normal business hours Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The limiting of service hours with the public at the Kailua-Kona office on Fridays is a temporary measure to better serve customers in the processing of permit applications, the release stated. During the last several months, the department has experienced an unprecedented increase in permit applications including the registration of short-term vacation rentals and building permit applications, which the Planning Department reviews for land use, the release continued.

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In response to this increase in demand, Planning Department staff in Kailua-Kona are being assigned to prioritize the processing of applications on days when they are not directly assisting members of the public in-person.

“During this challenging time for our staff, we appreciate the public’s kōkua as we focus on completing our work and enabling our customers to move forward in their own efforts,” said Planning Director Michael Yee.

Other measures taken to deal with the backlog include bringing on temporary employees to build the department’s capacity to assist the public, as well as sharing staffing resources and workloads across divisions within the department, the release said.

If members of the public have any questions about this temporary change to service hours in Kailua-Kona, they can contact the department at (808) 961-8288.

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