Report Title:

Automatic Permit Approvals; Repeal


Repeals automatic permit, license, or approvals for business or development-related permits.


S.B. NO.









relating to permit approvals.



SECTION 1. The legislature finds that automatic permit approval may lead to unintended consequences. For example, a default judgment in favor of approval of an application can be forced under automatic approval if a board member comes to a board meeting to establish a quorum but later either leaves before the permit is voted on or declares a conflict of interest. At that point, a quorum no longer exists, and the permit is automatically approved. Automatic approval may also occur if there is a tie vote by the board, if a deadline passes while an agency is in the midst of conducting public hearings, or if an underfunded agency simply cannot handle the workload. Approving controversial projects without adequate review may leave the community with an unwanted development for years to come.

The legislature further finds that while adding certain time extensions to the automatic permit approval law may have the short-term effect of increasing efficiency, the long-term effect will actually be the opposite. For instance, adding an extension for contested case hearings may delay permit approval until after the completion of administrative and judicial proceedings. However, failure to allow an extension for contested cases may result in the automatic approval of a permit in violation of an applicant's due process rights, which may lead to a lawsuit in addition to a subsequent contested case hearing. The added delays, increased complexity, and substantial costs associated with additional litigation will significantly impede efficiency in the long run. Consequently, the provision for automatic approval should be repealed.

SECTION 2. Section 91-13.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

["[91-13.5] Maximum time period for business or development-related permits, licenses, or approvals; automatic approval; extensions. (a) Unless otherwise provided by law, an agency shall adopt rules that specify a maximum time period to grant or deny a business or development-related permit, license, or approval; provided that the application is not subject to state administered permit programs delegated, authorized, or approved under federal law.

(b) All such issuing agencies shall clearly articulate informational requirements for applications and review applications for completeness in a timely manner.

(c) All such issuing agencies shall take action to grant or deny any application for a business or development-related permit, license or approval within the established maximum period of time, or the application shall be deemed approved.

(d) The maximum period of time established pursuant to this section shall be extended in the event of a national disaster, state emergency, or union strike, which would prevent the applicant, the agency, or the department from fulfilling application or review requirements.

(e) For purposes of this section, "application for a business or development-related permit, license, or approval" means any state or county application, petition, permit, license, certificate, or any other form of a request for approval required by law to be obtained prior to the formation, operation, or expansion of a commercial or industrial enterprise, or for any permit, license, certificate, or any form of approval required under sections 46-4, 46-4.2, 46-4.5, 46-5, and chapters 183C, 205, 205A, 340A, 340B, 340E, 340F, 342B, 342C, 342D, 342E, 342F, 342G, 342H, 342I, 342J, 342L, and 342P."]

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.