Report Title:

Important Agricultural Lands



Allows landowner petitions for important agricultural land designation to take effect without the enactment of incentive/protection legislation.  Establishes a list of permitted uses for important agricultural lands.  (SB1756 HD2)



S.B. NO.



S.D. 1


H.D. 2








relating to important agricultural lands.





SECTION 1. Chapter 205, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part III to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

§205-  Permissible uses on lands designated important agricultural lands.  (a)  All lands designated important agricultural lands shall be restricted to the following permitted uses:

(1)  Cultivation of crops, including but not limited to flowers, vegetables, foliage, fruits, forage, fiber, and timber;

(2)  Game and fish propagation;

(3)  Raising of livestock, including poultry, bees, fish, or other animal or aquatic life that are propagated for economic or personal use;

(4)  Public institutions and buildings that are necessary for agricultural practices;

(5)  Public, private, and quasi-public utility lines and roadways, transformer stations, communications equipment buildings, solid waste transfer stations, major water storage tanks, and appurtenant small buildings such as booster pumping stations, but not including offices or yards for equipment, material, vehicle storage, repair or maintenance, treatment plants, corporation yards, or other similar structures;

(6)  Retention, restoration, rehabilitation, or improvements of sites of historic or cultural importance;

(7)  Roadside stands for the sale of agricultural products grown on the lot;

(8)  Buildings and uses, including but not limited to mills, storage, and processing facilities, maintenance facilities, and vehicle and equipment storage areas that are normally considered directly accessory to the uses permitted in this section and are permitted under section 205-2(d);

(9)  Agricultural parks;

(10)  Agricultural tourism, conducted on a working farm, or a farming operation as defined in section 165-2, for the enjoyment, education, or involvement of visitors; provided that the agricultural tourism activity is accessory and secondary to the principal agricultural use and does not interfere with surrounding farm operations; and provided further that this paragraph shall apply only to a county that has adopted ordinances regulating agricultural tourism under section 205-5; and

(11)  Bio-fuels processing facilities; provided that the majority of the feedstock is grown within this state, and alternative energy generating facilities, including the appurtenances associated with the production and transmission of bio-fuels and alternative generated energy; provided further that such facilities and appurtenances are compatible with agricultural uses and cause minimal adverse impact on important agricultural land.

(b)  Uses not expressly permitted in subsection (a) shall be prohibited, except the uses permitted as provided in section 205-8, and construction of single-family dwellings on lots existing before June 4, 1976.  A single dwelling on not more than one acre shall be permitted for the sole use of the landowner or child of the landowner, or for the use of a lessee on leased land that is used by the lessee as a working farm or a farming operation, as defined in section 165-2.  No other uses shall be allowed by special permit on important agricultural lands.

(c)  Any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, land designated as important agricultural lands shall only be subdivided as provided in section 205-4.5(e).  Any deed, lease, agreement of sale, mortgage, or other instrument of conveyance covering any land within the agricultural subdivision of lands designated important agricultural lands shall expressly contain the restriction on uses and the conditions contained in this section and the restrictions and conditions shall be encumbrances running with the land until such time that the land is no longer designated as important agricultural lands."

SECTION 2.  Notwithstanding section 205-49 or any provision of part III of chapter 205 to the contrary, a landowner with lands qualifying under section 205-44 may file a petition for designation of important agricultural lands with the commission at any time in the designation process.

The petition for designation of important agricultural lands shall include:

(1)  Tax map keys of the land to be designated;

(2)  Proof of qualification for designation under section 205-44; and

(3)  The current or planned agricultural use of the area to be designated.

The commission shall review the petition and the accompanying submissions to evaluate the qualifications of the land for designation as important agricultural lands in accordance with section 205-44.  If the commission, after its review and evaluation, finds that the lands qualify for designation as important agricultural lands using the standards and criteria for identifying important agricultural lands in section 205-44, the commission shall designate the lands as important agricultural lands.

SECTION 3.  Act 183, Session Laws of Hawaii 2005, is amended by amending section 9(a) to read as follows:

"(a) It is the intent of this Act:

(1)  That agricultural incentive programs to promote agricultural viability, sustained growth of the agricultural industry, and the long-term use and protection of important agricultural lands for agricultural use shall be developed concurrently with the process of identifying important agricultural lands as required under section 2 of this Act; and

(2)  That, except for the designation of important agricultural lands by a landowner pursuant to section 2 of Act  , Session Laws of Hawaii 2007, the designation of important agricultural lands and adoption of maps by the land use commission pursuant to section 2 of this Act shall take effect only upon the enactment of legislation establishing incentives and protections for important agricultural lands contemplated by section 205-F and shall be satisfied by:

(A)  Providing a declaration of satisfaction within the Act that establishes incentives for important agricultural lands; or

(B)  Having the legislature adopt a concurrent resolution declaring the satisfaction of implementing incentives for important agricultural lands by identifying the specific measures or Acts that establish incentives for important agricultural lands."

SECTION 4.  New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2020.