[§205-49] Designation of important agricultural lands; adoption of important agricultural lands maps. (a) After receipt of the maps of eligible important agricultural lands from the counties and the recommendations of the department of agriculture and the office of planning, the commission shall then proceed to identify and designate important agricultural lands, subject to section 205-45. The decision shall consider the county maps of eligible important agricultural lands; declaratory orders issued by the commission designating important agricultural lands during the three year period following the enactment of legislation establishing incentives and protections contemplated under section 205-46, as provided in section 9 of Act 183, Session Laws of Hawaii 2005; landowner position statements and representations; and any other relevant information.
In designating important agricultural lands in the State, pursuant to the recommendations of individual counties, the commission shall consider the extent to which:
(1) The proposed lands meet the standards and criteria under section 205-44;
(2) The proposed designation is necessary to meet the objectives and policies for important agricultural lands in sections 205-42 and 205-43; and
(3) The commission has designated lands as important agricultural lands, pursuant to section 205-45; provided that if the majority of landowners' landholdings is already designated as important agricultural lands, excluding lands held in the conservation district, pursuant to section 205-45 or any other provision of this part, the commission shall not designate any additional lands of that landowner as important agricultural lands except by a petition pursuant to section 205-45.
Any decision regarding the designation of lands as important agricultural lands and the adoption of maps of those lands pursuant to this section shall be based upon written findings of fact and conclusions of law, presented in at least one public hearing conducted in the county where the land is located in accordance with chapter 91, that the subject lands meet the standards and criteria set forth in section 205-44 and shall be approved by two-thirds of the membership to which the commission is entitled.
(b) Copies of the maps of important agricultural lands adopted under this section shall be transmitted to each county planning department and county council, the department of agriculture, the agribusiness development corporation, the office of planning, and other state agencies involved in land use matters. The maps of important agricultural lands shall guide all decision-making on the proposed reclassification or rezoning of important agricultural lands, state agricultural development programs, and other state and county land use planning and decision-making.
(c) The land use commission shall have the sole authority to interpret the adopted map boundaries delineating the important agricultural lands.
(d) The land use commission may designate lands as important agricultural lands and adopt maps for a designation pursuant to:
(1) A farmer or landowner petition for declaratory ruling under section 205‑45 at any time; or
(2) The county process for identifying and recommending lands for important agricultural lands under section 205-47 no sooner than three years,
after the enactment of legislation establishing incentives and protections contemplated under section 205-46, as provided in section 9 of Act 183, Session Laws of Hawaii 2005. [L 2005, c 183, pt of §2]