STAND. COM. REP. NO. 264

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 186

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 186 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO RESTRICTIONS ON AGRICULTURAL USES AND ACTIVITIES,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to prohibit the enforcement of a re-recorded homeowners' association restriction if the restriction prohibits bona fide agricultural uses and activities on agricultural land.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture, Office of Planning, Hawaii Farm Bureau, and one individual. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Community Associations Institute and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Land Use Commission and Associa.

 

Your Committee finds that subdivision of agricultural lands has significantly increased over the past few decades, thereby leading homeowners' associations to impose restrictions that limit bona fide agricultural uses on agricultural lands. Currently, some homeowners' associations have been circumventing the law by renewing agricultural restrictions that existed prior to July 8, 2003, claiming that the renewed terms continue to be exempt from the law despite those agreements, by their own terms, expiring after 2003. Restrictive covenants that limit agricultural uses on agricultural lands undermine the State's interest in protecting and preserving agricultural resources and promoting self-sufficiency. Additionally, agricultural subdivisions promote conflict between "gentlemen estates", where little farming exists, and bona fide farmers in surrounding areas regarding dust, odors, smoke, and noise from farming operations. The existence of these gentlemen estates increases the cost of agricultural land, making it difficult for bona fide purchasers to purchase farm land. Thus, this measure is needed to prevent the restriction of agricultural uses and activities on lots within state agricultural districts. This measure also clarifies that renewed contracts restricting agricultural uses and activities within agricultural uses and activities within agricultural lands are considered new contracts and are therefore voidable, subject to limited circumstances.

 

Your Committee notes testifiers' concerns that this measure as currently written is overly broad. Many agricultural condominiums have restrictions on the types of agriculture permitted as the project itself may have limitations, such as the availability of water, electricity, or the topography and should not be forced to anticipate the inception of the project.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture and Environment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 186 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,

 

 

 

________________________________

MIKE GABBARD, Chair