TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to educational retreats.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that there exists educational retreat communities within Hawaii that provide instruction programs relating to nature, culture, wellness, and sustainable living in the spirit of ‘ohana and aloha; and that such retreats helps the community by providing agricultural food production, education, employment, energy, recreation, services, supplies, and safety. The legislature recognizes that educational retreats exist in remote rural areas on lands of minimum agricultural value and that such retreats can demonstrate revitalized and augmented traditional sustainable living methods, which further agricultural production and provide economic and educational benefits to local residents. The legislature also finds that retreat operations can provide essential services in remote areas where government services and facilities are minimal or inaccessible. In certain areas, factors such as poor class E soils, coqui frog infestation, and volcano activity minimize home and land values resulting in the State's fastest growing populations and highest rates of unemployment and impoverishment.
The result of these findings is the need for rural educational retreats that:
(1) Revitalize ahupua‘a heritage by employing native and other supportive personnel, facilities, and programs;
(2) Use traditional methods and modern innovation in supporting thriving, healthy, and happy ‘ohana;
(3) Build soil augmentation and reef conservation via agriculture, permaculture, aquaculture, horticulture, organic farming, and native plant-forest protection;
(4) Support local residents and visitors of varying abilities and economic means to conduct research on, and experience, sustainable living such as living in eco-sustainable homes and gardening using native and renewable materials such as bamboo; and
(5) Demonstrate ‘ike loa long range planning for future generations, supportive of the State of Hawai‘i 2050 sustainability goals and the Environmental Protection Agency's "Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning".
A community based Kupuna Retreat Education Act for Teaching Ecology would expand awareness and appreciation of the heritage and environment of Hawaii while also providing a sustainable economy for rural areas and residents most in need of agricultural food production, education, employment, energy, recreation, safety, supplies, and services. This Act will allow and encourage privately or otherwise funded sustainable educational eco-retreat projects within a county to expand upon current and native traditional ways of living in harmony with nature. This Act supports the development of more sustainable methods of living, allowing greater implementation of county and state sustainable living policies, including furthering food and energy self-sufficiency in manners exemplified by educational retreats that engage local businesses, vendors, farmers, and fishers.
The purpose of the Act is to expand and further educational retreat properties, programs, and facilities that model the Hawai‘i 2050 sustainability plan created by the Hawaii 2050 task force pursuant to Act 8, Special Session Laws of Hawaii 2005, which are integrated philosophies that express the sustainable future of Hawaii. These five principles reflect a deeply-held sense of Hawaii's values and are as follows:
(1) Living sustainably is part of our daily practice in Hawaii;
(2) Our diversified and globally competitive economy enables us to meaningfully live, work, and play in Hawaii;
(3) Our natural resources are responsibly and respectfully used, replenished, and preserved for future generations;
(4) Our community is strong, healthy, vibrant, and nurturing and provides safety nets for those in need; and
(5) Our kanaka maoli, island cultures and values are thriving and perpetuated.
SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
KUPUNA RETREAT EDUCATION ACT FOR TEACHING ECOLOGY (K.R.E.A.T.E.)
§ -1 Short title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Kupuna Retreat Education Act for Teaching Ecology or as the acronym K.R.E.A.T.E. This acronym is relevant because educational retreats are inspired by kupuna heritage in teaching an eco-aware harmony with nature that helps participants create and achieve their personal best with love for life, respect for others, and care for the home, and the local and global communities. This Act honors kupuna who over the past forty years helped launch educational retreat operations on traditional ahupua‘a community lands in Hawaii.
§ -2 Definitions. As used in this chapter:
"Educational retreat" means a remote rural farm-campus entity that provides instructional programs relating to nature, culture, wellness, and sustainable living experiences in the spirit of ‘ohana and aloha to resident students, staff, faculty, and local communities. Educational retreats benefit local and on-campus residents and visitors by providing programs and facilities generally supportive of agricultural food production, education, employment, energy, the economy, recreation, services, supplies, and safety. Retreats may be modeled after traditional cooperative communities in order to exemplify sustainable living practices, particularly sustainable human ecology.
"Educational retreat permit" means a permit issued by the planning department that designates an area, entity, or project as a bona fide educational retreat and specifies:
(1) The educational programs and facilities, including student, faculty, and staff accommodations, that can be integrated into the site by the permittee; and
(2) The county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits that are not applicable to the permittee, site, programs, and facilities.
"Educational retreat site" means an area that is:
(1) Limited to an average resident density of eight students, staff, or faculty per acre and is no more than five hundred habitable acres;
(2) Subject to an educational retreat site permit issued by the county planning department; and
(3) Subject to federal laws and regulations.
"Permittee" means a person or entity who holds or qualifies for an educational retreat permit.
"Planning commission" means a county planning commission.
"Planning department" means a county planning department.
"Sustainable human ecology" means the totality or pattern of relations between humans and their environment, especially as concerned with preservation of environmental quality, including air, land, and water, through proper application of conservation, planning, permitting, demonstration, education, and implementation practices.
"Sustainable living" means a live-in environment composed of programs, structures, and systems that inherently produce utilities, life-support, and continuing education that act to conserve and augment resources and may include:
(1) The provision of on-site energy needs via renewable resources;
(2) The provision of water needs while minimizing the withdrawals from ground water and surface water systems in accordance with county and state water law and the rules and policies of the county and state engineers;
(3) The provision of sewage treatment needs with minimal discharge;
(4) The reuse of materials discarded by modern society;
(5) The development of organic foods;
(6) The development of renewable fuel; and
(7) The development and testing of affordable and sustainable structures.
§ -3 Application for educational retreat permit; evaluation. (a) A person desiring an educational retreat permit shall submit an application to the planning department for the county in which the existing or proposed educational retreat site is located. The application shall include:
(1) A detailed description of existing and planned educational retreat programs and facilities;
(2) A site plan of the educational retreat site;
(3) The number of guest students, staff, and faculty that occupy or are expected to occupy the educational retreat site;
(4) An assessment of the county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits relating to construction, occupancy, or zoning that are not practicable for the specific educational retreat site and that may inhibit existing and proposed programs and facilities, including contemporary adaptations of heritage practices and other sustainable living studies, demonstrations, and models;
(5) An application fee, if any, set by the planning department;
(6) Other information as may be required by special conditions imposed pursuant to section -6, rules adopted pursuant to section -7, rules of the planning commission, or ordinance of the county;
(7) Copies of all required state permits, including the approval of any innovative ecological and sustainable wastewater treatment and disposal technology on an experimental basis; and
(8) An affidavit indemnifying the county and State from liability relating to any building exemptions.
(b) Within ten days of receipt of a complete application, the planning department shall forward a copy of the application to the department of health. Upon receipt of the application, the department of health shall have thirty days to submit comments to the planning department regarding the existing or proposed educational retreat site and to make a determination as to whether the programs and facilities will have a detrimental environmental impact on the retreat site or the surrounding area. During the review of the application, the department of health shall also determine whether it is appropriate to grant the applicant a waiver of its regulations pertaining to compositing toilets and greywater systems, including its regulations pertaining to individual wastewater systems on agricultural land; and to approve an applicant's self-designed or innovative systems. The department of health may grant a waiver if it finds that the proposed system will not have a detrimental impact upon human health or environment.
§ -4 Application review; decision; permit. (a) Following the application review, the planning department shall make its decision in writing. The planning department shall issue an educational retreat permit if:
(1) The department of health has determined that the educational retreat will not have a detrimental environmental impact on the educational retreat site or the surrounding area;
(2) No existing county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits relating to construction, occupancy, or zoning, other than those identified in the application, will be violated by the existing or proposed educational retreat site;
(3) The applicant has complied with any special conditions imposed pursuant to section -6 and any applicable rules adopted pursuant to section -7; and
(4) The existing or proposed educational retreat may be beneficial to the area's residents and visitors by demonstrating and developing sustainable living practices.
(b) An educational retreat permit shall include:
(1) A detailed description of the specific educational retreat programs, provisions, and facilities to be provided;
(2) The maximum number of structures that may be constructed on the educational retreat site;
(3) The maximum number of individuals that may reside on the educational retreat site;
(4) The specific county codes, ordinances, rules, and permits relating to building requirements, occupancy, or zoning otherwise applicable to the educational retreat site but that do not apply to the permittee; and
(5) Other restrictions on the educational retreat site and the permittee's activities as may be required by special conditions imposed pursuant to section -6 or any rules adopted pursuant to section -7.
(c) The permit shall be filed and recorded in the records of the county clerk. All the benefits and burdens of the permit shall run with the land.
(d) If the planning department denies an application for an educational retreat permit or fails to rule on an application within ninety days after the application is filed, the applicant may appeal the planning department's decision or failure to rule to the appropriate planning commission within thirty days.
§ -5 Educational retreat permitted; enforcement. (a) The permittee, when conducting educational retreat operations as specified in the educational retreat permit, shall comply with all applicable laws, special conditions, and rules except those county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits specified in the permit as inapplicable to the permittee and the operations.
(b) Nothing in this chapter or the educational retreat permit shall be deemed to allow the permittee to appropriate or otherwise use underground or surface water without first obtaining a water rights permit or approval if otherwise required pursuant to chapter 174C. New appropriations of water and water rights transfers shall in no event be exempted from the state water code and rules.
(c) Nothing in this chapter or the educational retreat permit shall be deemed to allow the permittee to forego an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement where such statement or assessment is otherwise required by law.
(d) At reasonable times, relevant employees and agents of the State or the county may enter the educational retreat site for the purpose of inspecting the site and activities conducted on the site to ensure that all applicable laws, rules, and special conditions specified in the educational retreat permit are being met.
(e) The permittee shall annually submit a report to the planning department describing the educational retreat activities conducted during the preceding twelve months and summarizing the results. All information contained in the report and all other information learned from activities conducted pursuant to the educational retreat permit shall be made available to the public.
(f) The planning commission may revoke the educational retreat permit if it finds, after a public hearing, that the permittee has substantially violated an educational retreat permit provision, this chapter, or an applicable rule adopted pursuant to this chapter or chapter 91, and has failed to correct the violation within thirty days of notification of the violation.
(g) A permittee may apply to have an educational retreat permit amended by submitting a new application pursuant to section -3. If the planning department determines that the proposed amendment will substantially alter the educational retreat or activities conducted at the educational retreat site and does not approve those changes, the permittee may appeal to the planning commission.
§ -6 Imposition of special conditions on permits. The planning department may impose special conditions on any permit issued pursuant to this chapter; provided that the conditions are consistent with the purpose and provisions of this chapter and other applicable laws and policies. If the applicant is not in agreement with any special conditions imposed by the planning department, the applicant may appeal to the appropriate planning commission.
§ ‑7 Adoption of rules. The planning department may adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter."
SECTION 3. No later than September 1, 2014, the planning department of each county shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, regarding the issuance of permits pursuant to this Act.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2014.
Kupuna Retreat Education Act for Teaching Ecology; Permit; Land Use
Authorizes counties to issue permits for educational retreats to benefit local residents and provide various instructional programs, including programs related to nature, culture, wellness, and sustainable living.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.