STAND. COM. REP. NO.378-02
RE: H.B. No. 2662
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Water and Land Use and Agriculture, to which was referred H.B. No. 2662 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO LAND USE,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to establish standards for the identification of important agricultural lands, and to promote the usage of rural land use districts.
During the legislative interim, your Committees on Agriculture and Water and Land Use jointly conducted a series of informational meetings to address the state constitutional mandate in article XI, section 3, relating to agricultural lands. Meaningful testimony was received from involved government agencies including the Land Use Commission, Office of Planning, Department of Agriculture, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the various counties; also from land owners and landowner organizations; and conservationists Sierra Club and Hawaii's Thousand Friends.
This bill represents the collaborative efforts of the aforementioned state agencies who were assembled at the request of your co-chairs to reflect the viewpoints expressed in those hearings.
This bill fulfills the State's constitutional mandate by establishing:
(1) A process through which important agricultural lands would be identified;
(2) Standards and criteria to be used by applicable state and county authorities to:
(A) Reclassify and rezone important agricultural lands;
(B) Conserve and protect agricultural lands; and
(C) Insure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands.
Your Committees note that provisions to address the constitutional mandates of promoting diversified agriculture and increasing agricultural self-sufficiency are contained in H.B. No. 2150 which was passed out jointly by your Agriculture and Water and Land Use Committees.
This bill creates a more viable rural land use district to absorb development pressures currently directed at agricultural lands by redefining its purpose and specifying the parameters of its physical development.
Specifically, this bill addresses the state constitutional mandate in article XI, section 3 to conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands. The bill established standards and criteria for designation of important agricultural lands into three classes: prime, unique, and other important agricultural land. The bill also creates a more viable rural land use district to absorb development pressures currently directed at agricultural lands by redefining its purposes and specifying the parameters of its physical development.
The bill also requires the Office of Planning to identify potential areas for reclassification from agricultural to rural, to be submitted to the Land Use Commission for public hearing and approval, disapproval, or modification of the new boundaries.
Favorable testimony was received from the Office of Planning, the Land Use Commission, Department of Agriculture, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Hawaii Farm Bureau, and the Hawaii Association of Realtors. The Land Use Research Foundation, Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference, Life of the Land, and Hawaii's Thousand Friends offered comments.
Your Committees have amended this bill by:
(1) Giving the Land Use Commission the authority to hear a petition for a declaratory ruling on a county land use or land use development action involving rural district lands; and
(2) Modifying the effective date to make the appropriation effective on July 1, 2002, and to give the counties from July 1, 2002 until July 1, 2003 to adopt ordinances and rules to prepare for this transition.
Your Committees also made technical nonsubstantive changes.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Water and Land Use and Agriculture that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2662, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2662, H.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Finance.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Water and Land Use and Agriculture,
FELIPE P. ABINSAY, Chair
EZRA KANOHO, Chair