S.R. NO.



S.D. 1













     WHEREAS, despite the importance of agriculture, in the last twenty years the State has developed nearly 3,300 acres of prime farmland, increasing the price of remaining land and creating financial hardships for farmers; and


     WHEREAS, article XI, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution requires the State to conserve and protect agricultural lands and increase self-sufficiency and directs the Legislature to provide standards and criteria to meet these requirements; and


     WHEREAS, the State needs strategic community-oriented rules and regulations to protect our unspoiled landscapes and farming lands, preserve the beauty of the islands, and secure its unique agricultural business; and


     WHEREAS, there is also widespread support for the idea that the State should become less reliant on cars and more reliant on locally grown food and energy; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii residents have voted to build a mass transit system to take cars off the road and focus growth around transit centers; and


     WHEREAS, on the island of Oahu, up to 4,000 new households are created each year which requires the building of 100,000 new homes over the next twenty-five years; and


     WHEREAS, existing land use practices create urban sprawl, threatening our agricultural and conservation lands; and


     WHEREAS, to prevent urban sprawl from destroying our agricultural lands, a viable option would be to focus growth along the transit corridors; and


     WHEREAS, agriculture has a special place in Hawaii's history and continues to be an important industry generating $1,900,000,000 and 42,000 jobs; and


     WHEREAS, with the decline of the sugar industry, agricultural lands are being used increasingly by small farms growing diversified agricultural products which have gained recognition in foreign and domestic markets; and


     WHEREAS, millions of visitors from around the globe travel to our State with the great expectation of viewing spectacular landscapes of green vegetation; and


     WHEREAS, the increased development of farmland is due in part to the substantial numbers that continue to be added to the Hawaii resident population each decade, averaging at least 100,000 for each decade from 1960 to 2000; and


     WHEREAS, for each decade between 2000 and 2030, the population is expected to increase by 140,000, with approximately 59,000 of that growth being in the neighbor island counties; and


     WHEREAS, much of the island of Oahu's future population growth is slated for the Ewa plains and southern slopes of the island's central valley, between Waipahu and Wahiawa near the island's center; and


     WHEREAS, the increasing population puts pressure on the State and counties to implement land use practices that carefully regulate a balance of development while sustaining the beauty and natural resources of the islands; and


     WHEREAS, changes in state and county land use practices need to be implemented to plan for proper population growth; otherwise, new housing supply will decrease and island-wide prices will increase; and


     WHEREAS, it costs approximately $300,000 to subsidize one affordable rental unit, which, multiplied by the state shortage of 10,000 units, requires $3,000,000,000 of taxpayer subsidy and provides no solution to the affordable housing shortage or expansion of urban sprawl; and


     WHEREAS, it is also important to encourage redevelopment and reinvestment in the historic nature of towns and communities to preserve Hawaii's heritage for future generations; and


     WHEREAS, existing land use practices that increase urban sprawl have discouraged economic activity in main street settings by decreasing the number of visitors to main street shops and vendors because development is concentrated away from rather than in and around main street settings; and


     WHEREAS, the counties' focus should be to create communities in which future generations can grow up in a safe environment and in good health by reducing traffic congestion, greenhouse gases, and use of fossil fuels; and


     WHEREAS, the counties need to look at tools such as transferring density rights, incentives for redevelopment, revenue generating public-private partnerships, and economic development strategies; and


     WHEREAS, current land codes do not encourage consistency in maintaining building facades of historical buildings in the area or community; and


     WHEREAS, encouraging the development of infrastructure that allows for a preferred choice of walking, biking, or the use of public transportation will help accommodate the State's growing population; and


     WHEREAS, the counties' current practices relating to land use such as county ordinances, zoning, permitting, and development processes need to be amended to ensure proper development in appropriate areas; and


     WHEREAS, the Office of Planning gathers, analyzes, and provides information to the Governor to assist in the overall analysis and formulation of state policies and strategies to address current or emerging issues; and


     WHEREAS, the Office of Planning engages in land use planning by representing the State before the Land Use Commission, assisting state agencies on land use district boundary amendments, and reviewing the classification and districting of all state lands; and


     WHEREAS, all existing land use practices, including statutes, ordinances, permitting, development application processes, and environmental infrastructure, need to be reviewed to effectively provide the necessary information and recommendations required to plan for the reduction of urban sprawl and proper development and redevelopment to accommodate population growth; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2012, that the Office of Planning is requested to convene a task force to review all state and county land use practices and develop recommendations to reduce urban sprawl and properly develop urban areas; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force develop recommendations for counties to revise laws that reflect strategic land use practices for main street redevelopment in existing towns that support public transportation to accommodate the growing population of the State; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force include the following members:


     (1)  The Director of the Office of Planning;


     (2)  The Chairperson of the Land Use Commission;


     (3)  The Director or Deputy Director of each of the county planning agencies; and


     (4)  A representative or representatives of any other interested stakeholders or entities, including but not limited to developers, architects, and contractors, to be selected by the Governor; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is requested to submit a report of the findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature and the respective county councils no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2013; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that members of the task force not receive compensation for their service but be reimbursed for necessary expenses, including travel expenses, incurred in the performance of their duties; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Chairperson of the Land Use Commission, Director of the Office of Planning, Directors of each of the county planning agencies, and mayors of the counties of Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui.

Report Title: 

Land Use Task Force; Urban Sprawl