The department is in the midst of crafting the Maui Island Plan, a 20-year general plan that seeks to streamline the permitting process. Mayor Alan Arakawa says that one of the advantages that Spence has is his experience with Maui practices in addition to being an outsider to the big development game there.
Chris Hamilton of The Maui News writes:
"Spence was a good choice for both environmental groups and developers, said environmentalist and community activist Dick Mayer. He said he particularly appreciates that Spence's private-sector involvement with development did not include the big companies, landowners and controversial projects, which could otherwise unfairly sway another director's choices."
Spence moved to Maui from Los Angeles in 1991.