S.C.R. NO.
















     WHEREAS, agriculture was the economic mainstay for many of Hawaii's rural communities; and


     WHEREAS, the agricultural industry, specifically sugar cane and pineapple, had a greater stake in how and where communities grew; and


     WHEREAS, over the past four decades, communities have witnessed the end of the era of Hawaii's plantation heritage; and


     WHEREAS, in 1971, the Kahuku sugar mill closed; in 1996, the Waialua sugar mill closed; in 2008, Del Monte fresh produce ended operations; and in 2016, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company ended sugar operations; and


     WHEREAS, a recent report released by the Department of Agriculture, Statewide Agricultural Land Use Baseline 2015, shows a dramatic change in agricultural land over the last thirty-five years as sugar production and pineapple production have downsized; and


     WHEREAS, according to the Department of Agriculture, there are 151,830 acres of agricultural land in crop production today compared to 350,830 acres in crop production in 1980; and


     WHEREAS, it is the State's responsibility under article XI, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution to conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency, and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's agricultural production is insufficient to meet the State's food consumption needs, and this over-reliance on imported food creates critical health, safety and security issues for Hawaii, the State's sustainable future, and preparedness in the event of future disaster, emergency, or crisis; and


     WHEREAS, attempts to stimulate diversified agriculture in the private sector through regulatory controls and land use and zoning restrictions is not sufficient to address the business needs and subsidies necessary to effectively and significantly increase diversified agriculture to the extent necessary to avoid Hawaii's agricultural self-sufficiency crisis; and


     WHEREAS, over the past few years, the State has made it a priority to shift toward sustainability in agriculture and decreasing our food imports; and


     WHEREAS, Act 55, Session Laws of Hawaii 2013, amends the Hawaii State Planning Act to create a new state policy to promote economically competitive activities that increase Hawaii's agricultural self-sufficiency, including the increased purchase and use of Hawaii-grown food and food products by residents, businesses, and governmental bodies; and


     WHEREAS, large tracts of agricultural land, including those formerly used for pineapple and sugar cane, are now fallow; and


     WHEREAS, these lands provide a unique opportunity for the State to fulfill the intent of the Hawaii State Constitution regarding diversified agriculture and agricultural self-sufficiency through acquisition of suitable agricultural land for long-term leases for diversified, bona fide agricultural operations to increase agricultural production; and


     WHEREAS, the State is facing a crisis in homelessness, affordable housing, workforce housing, and other housing inventory for Hawaii's residents; and


     WHEREAS, according to the December 2016 Report to the Hawaii State Legislature in response to Act 127, Session Laws of Hawaii 2016, by the special action team on affordable rental housing, there is an estimated statewide need for approximately 24,551 housing units in the five-year period from 2016 to 2020; and


     WHEREAS, the lack of suitable, entitled lands for development of appropriate housing is a major contributing factor to the housing crisis, and substantial obstacles and delays in entitling such lands result in discouraging development, lowering housing inventory, and raising housing prices, among other negative effects; and


     WHEREAS, land exchanges, the exchange of state lands in other states for privately owned lands to meet the needs of and to mutually benefit both parties, have provided public benefit in the areas of conservation, economic growth, ecology, and recreation; and


     WHEREAS, land exchanges present a viable method of addressing the many housing and agricultural issues facing the State because land exchanges present a win-win situation where the State is able to negotiate a mutually beneficial exchange of developable state lands for housing in exchange for privately owned agricultural lands for farming; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-ninth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2017, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Governor is requested to negotiate land exchanges for the purpose of acquiring private lands suitable for long-term diversified agriculture production in exchange for state lands to be acquired by private parties for development of affordable, workforce, and other housing for Hawaii residents; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor coordinate with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and any other department or agency of the State that holds title to or an assignment of state land that may be appropriate for exchange; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the negotiations endeavor to:


     (1)  Obtain large tracts of suitable agricultural lands for the State to lease to farmers for diversified agriculture; and


     (2)  Provide to private parties suitable urban lands along the rail transit corridor on Oahu for development of affordable housing, workforce housing, and other housing inventory for Hawaii residents, and mixed use commercial and accessory uses within areas designated for transit-oriented development and other appropriate urbanized areas on Oahu; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor is requested to submit a report to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2018 on:


     (1)  The feasibility of any land exchanges of agricultural parcels of high interest to the State in exchange for urbanized lands along the rail transit corridor on Oahu for appropriate private development of housing negotiated by the Governor, a list of lands suitable for such an exchange, and a description and the market value of the parcels; and


     (2)  Any appropriations, proposed legislation, or administrative action necessary to accomplish the goals; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, Executive Director of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, and Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture.















Report Title: 

Land Exchange Negotiations; Agriculture; Housing