The University of Hawaii Board of Regents plans to vote on new draft of rules for managing Mauna Kea on Hawaii island instead of Oahu.

The board posted a notice of the meeting location change on its website Tuesday. The public meeting is now planned for Nov. 6 at UH Hilo’s Performing Arts Center instead of at UH West Oahu.

TMT Hilo waterfront with the TMT Mauna Kea Observatories. The tiny white dots on the top of Mauna Kea are the observatories.
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents are expected to vote on rules governing access to the summit of Mauna Kea Nov. 6. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“Reaching folks on Hawaii island, where Mauna Kea is, was a top priority to make sure they have the opportunity to weigh in,” university spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said.

Members of the board have held several public hearings over the past year on Hawaii island while gathering feedback on drafts of the administrative rules.

The regents were scheduled to vote on the new rules in July, the same week protests started against the Thirty Meter Telescope, but have pushed the vote back several times to consider additional public testimony on the administrative rules, the board said in a notice.

UH has long been criticized for allowing tour companies and telescopes to operate at the summit without the administrative rules to govern those activities. Recently, some have criticized the rules, which some believe may restrict access by cultural practitioners to the top of the mountain.

The university has rewritten the rules three times since beginning public outreach last year to address concerns that they would be too restrictive, removing some prohibitions on musical instruments and permitting requirements for public assemblies, for example.

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