THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
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 these 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) Establishing objectives and policies for state facility systems in the Hawaii State Planning Act to achieve the use of green infrastructure, vegetation, and trees in state facility systems, infrastructure, and transit projects; and
(2) Requiring the office of planning, in partnership with the greenhouse gas sequestration task force, to make recommendations for implementing the green infrastructure objectives, policies, and priority guidelines established by this Act.
SECTION 2. Chapter 226, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part I to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§226- Objectives and policies for facility systems--green infrastructure. (a) Planning for state facility systems, infrastructure, and transit projects with regard to green infrastructure shall be directed toward the achievement of the following sustainability design objectives:
(1) Minimizing stormwater runoff and replenishing the water table;
(2) Reducing the urban heat-island effect;
(3) Encouraging the removal of pollutants from the air; and
(4) Encouraging the removal, sequestration, and storage of greenhouse gas emissions.
(b) Planning for state facility systems, 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, green infrastructure, and open green space as possible, with a priority on the use of Hawaiian plants where feasible; and
(3) Finishing exterior exposed appurtenances and concrete surfaces not covered in foliage or green infrastructure with a standardized paint scheme to protect against weathering, blending appropriately with Hawaii's natural environment, and enhancing a Hawaii sense of place that provides for a better quality of life experience.
(c) For the purpose of this section, "green infrastructure" means the range of measures that use plant or soil systems, including trees, permeable pavement or other permeable surfaces or substrates, stormwater harvest and reuse, or landscaping to store, infiltrate, or evapotranspirate water and reduce flows to sewer systems or to surface waters."
SECTION 3. Section 226-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:
""Hawaiian plants" shall have the same meaning as in section 103D-408."
SECTION 4. 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) Promote the increase of outdoor public green spaces.
(7) Connect outdoor public green spaces with existing trails.
(8) Promote the increase of urban tree canopy.
(9) Prioritize the use of Hawaiian plants where feasible to contribute to Hawaii's historic and cultural heritage, sense of place, biodiversity, and resilience."
SECTION 5. Section 226-104, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§226-104 Population growth and land resources priority guidelines. (a) Priority guidelines to effect desired statewide growth and distribution:
(1) Encourage planning and resource management to insure that population growth rates throughout the State are consistent with available and planned resource capacities and reflect the needs and desires of Hawaii's people.
(2) Manage a growth rate for Hawaii's economy that will parallel future employment needs for Hawaii's people.
(3) Ensure that adequate support services and facilities are provided to accommodate the desired distribution of future growth throughout the State.
(4) Encourage major state and federal investments and services to promote economic development and private investment to the neighbor islands, as appropriate.
(5) Explore the possibility of making available urban land, low-interest loans, and housing subsidies to encourage the provision of housing to support selective economic and population growth on the neighbor islands.
(6) Seek federal funds and other funding sources outside the State for research, program development, and training to provide future employment opportunities on the neighbor islands.
(7) Support the development of high technology parks on the neighbor islands.
(b) Priority guidelines for regional growth distribution and land resource utilization:
(1) Encourage urban growth primarily to existing urban areas where adequate public facilities are already available or can be provided with reasonable public expenditures, and away from areas where other important benefits are present, such as protection of important agricultural land or preservation of lifestyles.
(2) Make available marginal or nonessential agricultural lands for appropriate urban uses while maintaining agricultural lands of importance in the agricultural district.
(3) Restrict development when drafting of water would result in exceeding the sustainable yield or in significantly diminishing the recharge capacity of any groundwater area.
(4) Encourage restriction of new urban development in areas where water is insufficient from any source for both agricultural and domestic use.
(5) In order to preserve green belts, give priority to state capital-improvement funds which encourage location of urban development within existing urban areas except where compelling public interest dictates development of a noncontiguous new urban core.
(6) Seek participation from the private sector for the cost of building infrastructure and utilities, and maintaining open spaces.
(7) Pursue rehabilitation of appropriate urban areas.
(8) Support the redevelopment of Kakaako into a viable residential, industrial, and commercial community.
(9) Direct future urban development away from critical environmental areas or impose mitigating measures so that negative impacts on the environment would be minimized.
(10) Identify critical environmental areas in Hawaii to include but not be limited to the following: watershed and recharge areas; wildlife habitats (on land and in the ocean); areas with endangered species of plants and wildlife; natural streams and water bodies; scenic and recreational shoreline resources; open space and natural areas; historic and cultural sites; areas particularly sensitive to reduction in water and air quality; and scenic resources.
(11) Identify all areas where priority should be given to preserving rural character and lifestyle.
(12) Utilize Hawaii's limited land resources wisely, providing adequate land to accommodate projected population and economic growth needs while ensuring the protection of the environment and the availability of the shoreline, conservation lands, and other limited resources for future generations.
(13) Protect and enhance Hawaii's shoreline, open spaces, and scenic resources.
(c) Priority guidelines to promote the use of green infrastructure in state facility systems, infrastructure, and transit projects:
(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 tree species matched to site conditions to maximize tree health.
(4) Select tree and vegetation species for larger size at maturity where possible to maximize environmental benefits.
(5) Select varied native tree and vegetation species for biodiversity to increase resilience.
(6) Promote traffic safety with placement of foliage and trees consistent with Federal Highway Administration guidance, outside of "clear zones"."
SECTION 6. The office of planning, in partnership with the greenhouse gas sequestration task force, shall submit a report to the legislature, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2022, that includes:
(1) Recommendations for implementing the green infrastructure objectives and policies set out by section 226- , Hawaii Revised Statutes, as established by section 2 of this Act, and the priority guidelines set out by section 226-104(c), Hawaii Revised Statutes, as established by section 4 of this Act; and
(2) Any other findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation.
SECTION 7. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
State Plan; Green Infrastructure; Office of Planning; Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force; Report
Establishes green infrastructure objectives and policies for state facility systems in the Hawaii State Planning Act to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors. Adds definition of "green infrastructure". Requires the office of planning, in partnership with the greenhouse gas sequestration task force, to submit a report to the legislature making recommendations for implementing the green infrastructure objectives, policies, and priority guidelines established by this measure. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1)
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