S.B. NO.



S.D. 1


H.D. 1














     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that existing building codes and permitting processes are overly burdensome to the State's commercial agriculture and aquaculture industries and add substantial time and costs to establishing or expanding farming and ranching enterprises in the State.  The building codes and permitting processes are also contrary to the State's goals of expanding local food and bioenergy production, increasing the State's self-sufficiency, and improving the economic well-being of the State's rural farming communities.

     Historically, building codes are the result of national efforts in the early 1900s to prevent large urban fires and mitigate large-scale fire losses.  Because these fires tended to occur in large urban areas, the move to adopt uniform building codes generally did not include rural structures, particularly since the loss of an agricultural building seldom led to the loss of human life.  Planners also found that rural buildings were generally isolated, so fires would not usually spread to a large number of other buildings, as frequently occurred in urban settings.  While the complexity and scope of building codes have expanded dramatically over the past century, most states have retained agricultural building exemptions.  In a number of states, even farm dwellings are exempted from zoning and building codes and permit processes.

     Hawaii does not currently have a statutory agricultural building exemption despite its long agricultural history, its current high dependency on agricultural food and fuel imports, and the specific wording in article XI, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution that the State shall "promote diversified agriculture" and "increase agricultural self-sufficiency".

     The purpose of this Act is to encourage and support diversified agriculture and agricultural self-sufficiency in the State by providing an exemption from building permit requirements for nonresidential buildings or structures on commercial farms and ranches located outside of the urban district under certain conditions.

     SECTION 2.  Chapter 46, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"§46-     Agricultural and aquacultural buildings and structures; no building permit required.  (a)  No county shall require a building permit for the construction, installation, or operation of a nonresidential building or structure, or appurtenances thereto, as specified in subsection (b), that is located on a commercial farm or ranch and is used for general agricultural or aquacultural operations, or for purposes incidental to such operations; provided that:

     (1)  The building or structure is constructed or installed on a property that is used primarily for agricultural or aquacultural operations, and is two or more contiguous acres in area, or one or more contiguous acres in area if located in a nonresidential agricultural or aquacultural park;

     (2)  Upon completion of construction or installation, the owner or occupier provides written notice to the appropriate county fire department and county building permitting agency of the size, type, and location of the building or structure;

     (3)  A building or structure constructed or installed pursuant to this section that will be serviced with electricity shall comply with the state building code electrical standard; and

     (4)  Disposal of wastewater from any building or structure constructed or installed pursuant to this section shall comply with chapter 342D.

     (b)  For purposes of subsection (a), the following buildings and structures shall be exempt from county building permit requirements:

     (1)  Manufactured or pre-engineered buildings or structures, and appurtenances thereto;

     (2)  Recycled ocean shipping or cargo containers;

     (3)  Agricultural shade cloth structures, cold frames, or greenhouses;

     (4)  Aquacultural or aquaponics structures, including water storage or production tanks and raceways;

     (5)  Livestock watering tanks;

     (6)  Fences;

     (7)  One-story masonry or wood-framed buildings or structures with a structural span of less than twenty-five feet, including farm buildings used as:

         (A)  Barns;

         (B)  Greenhouses;

         (C)  Farm production buildings;

         (D)  Storage buildings for farm equipment or plant or animal supplies or feed; or

         (E)  Storage or processing buildings for crops; and

     (8)  Masonry or wood-framed buildings or structures with structural spans of twenty-five feet or more and appurtenances thereto designed or engineered according to the state building code;

provided that the buildings and structures comply with applicable setback codes and are properly anchored.

     (c)  As used in this section:

     "Agricultural building or aquacultural building" means a nonresidential building or structure located on a commercial farm or ranch constructed or installed to house farm or ranch implements, agricultural or aquacultural feeds or supplies, livestock, poultry, or other agricultural or aquacultural products, used in or necessary for the operation of the farm or ranch, or for the processing and selling of farm or ranch products.

     "Agricultural operation" means the planting, cultivating, harvesting, processing, or storage of crops, including those planted, cultivated, harvested, and processed for food, ornamental, grazing, feed, or forestry purposes, as well as the feeding, breeding, management, and sale of animals including livestock, poultry, honeybees, and their products.

     "Aquacultural operation" means the propagation, cultivation, farming, harvesting, processing, and storage of aquatic plants and animals in controlled or selected environments for research, commercial, or stocking purposes and includes aquaponics or any growing of plants or animals in or with aquaculture effluents.

     "Nonresidential" means a building or structure that is used only for agricultural or aquacultural operations, including an agricultural building or aquacultural building, and is not intended for use as, or used as, a dwelling.

     (d)  This section shall not apply to buildings or structures otherwise exempted from building permitting or building code requirements by applicable county ordinance.

     (e)  This section shall not be construed to supersede public or private lease conditions.

     (f)  This section shall not apply to the construction or installation of any building or structure on land in an urban district."

     SECTION 3.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on January 20, 2020.


Report Title:

Agriculture; Building Code; Building Permit



Exempts specified nonresidential agricultural and aquacultural buildings and structures, and their appurtenances, located on commercial farms and ranches located outside of the urban district from certain building permit requirements, under certain conditions.  Effective January 20, 2020.  (SB2646 HD1)




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