HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2635

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO THE STATE PLAN.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that sustainable design concepts for public infrastructure incorporate green vegetation and trees to decrease urban temperatures, reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and capture water to replenish the water table. The effects of climate change have made implementing sustainable design concepts more critical as each passing year has seen increased temperatures and other impacts from climate change.

Studies have determined that people who live in areas that have more trees and green space are less likely to have acute respiratory symptoms and less likely to die of heart disease or respiratory disease.  Studies have also found that green vegetation, trees, and properly designed and well-maintained infrastructure can also produce significant improvements to mental health and have positive psychological and quality-of-life benefits in a community. The Walt Disney Company uses such principles in park design, including painting unsightly infrastructure such as trash cans and street lights a standard shade of neutral green to blend them into the surrounding environment to improve the quality of experience for visitors. The same can be done in local communities to produce similar mental health and quality-of-life benefits.

The legislature further finds that Hawaii is world-renowned for its vegetation, and that citizens and tourists alike actively seek out green spaces.  Increasing the number of parks and green spaces in Honolulu's urban core will increase the quality of life of residents and visitors alike.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to improve the quality of life in the State by:

(1) Incorporating vegetation, trees, and sustainable green design into the state plan and public infrastructure projects, increasing overall green space, and establishing other objectives to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike; and

(2) Requiring the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission to make recommendations for implementing the green infrastructure priority guidelines established by this Act.

SECTION 2. Chapter 226, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part III to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"226- Green infrastructure priority guidelines. (a) Planning for state facilities, infrastructure, and transit projects shall incorporate the achievement of the following sustainability design objectives:

(1) Minimizing storm water runoff and replenishing the water table;

(2) Reducing the urban heat-island effect;

(3) Removing pollutants from the air; and

(4) Sequestering and storing carbon.

(b) Planning for state facilities, infrastructure, and transit projects shall incorporate the achievement of the following quality of experience design objectives:

(1) Creating a visual and sound barrier to enhance the quality of life in the surrounding community;

(2) Incorporating as much live foliage, trees, and open green space as possible;

(3) Finishing exterior exposed concrete surfaces not covered in foliage with a standardized paint scheme to protect against weathering, blend appropriately with Hawaii's natural environment, enhance a Hawaii sense of place, and provide for a better quality of experience;

(4) Finishing exposed appurtenances, such as street lights, trash cans, and other elements, in a standardized paint scheme to protect against weathering, blend appropriately with Hawaii's natural environment, enhance a Hawaii sense of place, and provide for a better quality of experience; and

(5) Incorporating elements of art, interest, humor, or similar enhancements to improve quality of experience.

(c) To achieve these objectives, it shall be the priority of the State to:

(1) Design all new state facilities, infrastructure, and transit upgrades to include best practices for tree planting and other green infrastructure;

(2) Make provisions for maintaining trees in accordance with standards set by the Accredited Standards Committee of the Tree Care Industry Association;

(3) Select species matched to site conditions to maximize tree health;

(4) Select species for larger size at maturity where possible to maximize environmental benefits;

(5) Select varied native species for biodiversity to increase resilience; and

(6) Promote traffic safety with placement of foliage and trees consistent with Federal Highway Administration guidance, outside of "clear zones"."

SECTION 3. Section 226-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) To achieve the scenic, natural beauty, and historic resources objective, it shall be the policy of this State to:

(1) Promote the preservation and restoration of significant natural and historic resources.

(2) Provide incentives to maintain and enhance historic, cultural, and scenic amenities.

(3) Promote the preservation of views and vistas to enhance the visual and aesthetic enjoyment of mountains, ocean, scenic landscapes, and other natural features.

(4) Protect those special areas, structures, and elements that are an integral and functional part of Hawaii's ethnic and cultural heritage.

(5) Encourage the design of developments and activities that complement the natural beauty of the islands.

(6) Increase outdoor public green spaces.

(7) Connect outdoor public green spaces with existing trails.

(8) Increase urban tree canopy."

SECTION 4. The Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission shall submit a report to the legislature, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2021, that includes:

(1) Recommendations for implementing the green infrastructure priority guidelines set out by section 226- , Hawaii Revised Statutes, as established by section 2 of this Act; and

(2) Any other findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation.

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

State Plan; Priority Guidelines; Environmental Protection; Green Priorities; Environment; Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission

 

Description:

Establishes green infrastructure priority guidelines within the state plan to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors. Adds "increase outdoor public green spaces", "connect outdoor public green spaces with existing trails", and "increase urban tree canopy" as objectives and policies for the physical environment. Requires the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission to submit a report to the Legislature making recommendations for implementing the green infrastructure priority guidelines established by this measure.

 

 

 

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