Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 137

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Water and Land, to which was referred S.B. No. 137 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish affordable housing as a priority activity within the State's land use laws.  Specifically, this measure authorizes county land use decision—making authorities to amend district boundaries for land areas between fifteen and twenty-five acres, that are non-important agricultural land or rural land areas if the land areas are proposed for reclassification to the urban district, contiguous to the urban district, and at least sixty percent of the land area will be dedicated for the development of affordable housing.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Mayor of the County of Maui, Mayor of the County of Hawaii, Hawaii Association of REALTORS, and Building Industry Association of Hawaii.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from Life of the Land, Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, Sierra Club of Hawaii, Hawaii Farm Bureau, and one individual.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Land Use Commission, Department of Agriculture, Office of Planning, and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.


     Your Committee finds that the growth of available affordable housing is a priority in Hawaii.  However, your Committee also recognizes the importance of protecting prime agricultural lands.  Your Committee finds that this measure would streamline the approvals process to allow affordable housing to be built in a timely and less costly manner while preserving the State's highest quality agricultural lands.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Inserting language that further requires the soil of the land area petitioned for reclassification to be of a classification as a certain overall (master) productivity rating class; and


     (2)  Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Water and Land that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 137, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 137, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Water and Land,