THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

487

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to land use.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The purpose of this Act is to aid the counties in implementing their general plans by submitting them to the land use commission for comprehensive redistricting, where appropriate.

The State's land use law, established by Act 187, Session Laws of Hawaii 1961, and now codified as chapter 205, Hawaii Revised Statutes, was originally adopted in part to address inadequate long-term land use planning on the county level. Previously, agricultural land had been converted for residential or other uses in a haphazard manner, without consideration of any cohesive or efficient pattern of using land. Prime agricultural land was being converted to residential use with subdivisions located away from public services.

The State's land use law identified four land-use districts, each with its own standards and boundaries. To ensure the orderly development of land for the public welfare, the land use commission was established and charged with setting standards and determining the boundaries of the urban, rural, agricultural, and conservation districts. The process for redistricting of lands is referred to as a district boundary amendment which may be done on petition by private landowners, developers, and state and county agencies.

Pursuant to section 205-18, Hawaii Revised Statutes, the office of planning is required to undertake a review of the classification and districting of all lands in the State, within five years from December 31, 1985, and every fifth year thereafter. However, there have been only three five-year boundary reviews. The focus of these review efforts by the office of planning has been on the Hawaii state plan, county general plans, and county development and community plans. Although the office of planning may initiate comprehensive, state land use boundary amendments after completion of its five-year boundary review of plans, it has seldom done so. This is a missed opportunity to ensure that state land use districts conform to county plans.

Under current practice, district boundary amendments are done, almost exclusively, on a case-by-case basis, driven by landowners and developers. This project-by-project review is not only far from comprehensive, but time-consuming and expensive, adding to the cost of housing and doing business in the State. With the emphasis on individual amendments, the perspective of regional planning is largely lost.

The Hawaii State Planning Act, codified as chapter 226, Hawaii Revised Statutes, was enacted in 1978, requiring counties to adopt long-range comprehensive plans to identify where growth and preservation should occur. The counties now develop and adopt their general plans in compliance with the Act, taking into account population and demographic projections, infrastructural needs, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. The county adoption process involves public engagement and sophisticated geographical information systems. The plans typically have twenty-year time frames with updates every ten years.

Since 1978, each of the counties has developed modern planning departments with capable professionals able to not only prepare detailed plans, but to follow through with implementing them. These plans, however, can be difficult to implement at the state level if district boundaries are determined on a project-by-project basis and not reviewed in a regional, comprehensive manner. Allowing the counties to submit their general plans to the State's land use commission for review and to request land use district boundary amendments where appropriate would accomplish the intent of Act 187 to promote efficient land use patterns, aid the counties in implementing their general plans, and reduce the cost of permitting that is passed along to consumers.

SECTION 2. Section 205-18, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"205-18 Periodic review of districts. (a) The office of planning shall undertake a review of the classification and districting of all lands in the State, within five years from December 31, 1985, and every fifth year thereafter. The office, in its five-year boundary review, shall focus its efforts on reviewing the Hawaii state plan, county general plans, and county development and community plans. Upon completion of the five-year boundary review, the office shall submit a report of the findings to the commission. The office may initiate state land use boundary amendments which it deems appropriate to conform to these plans. The office may seek assistance of appropriate state and county agencies and may employ consultants and undertake studies in making this review.

(b) The counties may submit their general plans to the commission for review and request land use boundary amendments for those lands designated for urban, rural, agricultural, and conservation uses in conformance with those plans."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

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

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

By Request


 


 

Report Title:

Maui County Package; Land Use; Land Use Commission; County General Plans

 

Description:

Allows counties to submit their general plans to LUC for review and to request land use boundary amendments in conformance with those plans.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.