STAND. COM. REP. NO.2220
RE: S.B. No. 2869
Honorable Robert Bunda
President of the Senate
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Hawaiian Affairs and Water, Land, Energy and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 2869 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO NORTH KOHALA,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to authorize the Department of Land and Natural Resources to utilize its powers of eminent domain to acquire lands adjacent to the Mo`okini Heiau to provide public access and for its protection.
Testimony in support of the measure was received from the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Mo`okini Luakini Foundation. A private citizen testified in opposition to the measure. One private citizen provided comments.
Your Committees find that Act 166, Session Laws of Hawaii 1992, now codified as section 6E-38.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes (Act 166), sought to preserve and protect a cluster of historical sites in North Kohala, on the island of Hawaii. The sites include the Mo`okini Luakini, Kamehameha birthsite, Kukuipahu Heiau, and the historical sites at Mahukona. The Kohala Historical Sites State Monument is a collection of those sites. The monument was also designated for educational and cultural purposes to be enjoyed by the public. The Department of Land and Natural Resources administers the monument.
When Act 166 was enacted, the Mo`okini Luakini, Kamehameha birthsite, and Kukuipahu Heiau were already owned by the State.
Act 166 further mandated that the following real property be included to ensure the unimpaired preservation of the visual, cultural, and historical aspect of the monument:
(1) Historical sites at Mahukona; and
(2) Any additional land surrounding all of the monument sites to preserve and protect them with adequate buffers and provide public access, including but not limited to those lands running along the coast between Huinamaka and Kalaelimukoko and those lands mauka of the Mo`okini Heiau encompassing the area formerly used for the housing of the Mo`okini priests and family gravesites.
The additional real property was to be acquired by the State through gifts or land exchanges and designated by the Board of Land and Natural Resources as part of the monument upon acquisition.
In the years following Act 166, the State made unsuccessful attempts to acquire the lands adjacent to the monument from the private owner through either a purchase or land exchange. These adjacent lands are necessary to provide public access to the monument as specified in Act 166.
In 1979, the Mo`okini Luakini Corporation was established as a nonprofit entity to promote, develop, and preserve the Mo`okini Heiau. Through the years, the Mo`okini Luakini Corporation has been dedicated to preserving the Mo`okini Heiau for educational and cultural purposes. Your Committees find that Mo`okini Luakini Corporation is the most qualified organization to protect and care for the Mo`okini Heiau.
Your Committees also find that the purchase of the lands adjacent to the monument is necessary to provide public access to the Kohala Historical Sites State Monument, including the Mo`okini Heiau. Your Committees further find that the State's acquisition of this land will protect the area by providing adequate buffers as authorized by Act 166.
In its deliberations, your Committees received testimony that raised concerns over a number of issues. These include:
(1) How best to ensure adequate public access to the historical sites;
(2) Whether there exists clear title to the lands, since testimony indicated that there are descendants of the original owners of the land who seek to regain control of the lands encompassing the historical sites;
(3) What constitutes adequate buffers around each historical site; and
(4) The need to accurately describe exactly which lands are to be condemned.
Although your Committees recognize that these concerns need to be addressed, your Committees understand that in order to do so, this measure must move forward in the legislative process as a vehicle to promote such discussion. As such, your Committees recommend that the measure move forward in its original form until such time that suitable amendments may be developed.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Hawaiian Affairs and Water, Land, Energy and Environment that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2869 and recommend that it pass Second Reading and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Hawaiian Affairs and Water, Land, Energy and Environment,
LORRAINE R. INOUYE, Chair
JONATHAN CHUN, Chair