Honolulu, Hawaii

, 2023


RE: H.B. No. 994

H.D. 1





Honorable Scott K. Saiki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Water & Land, to which was referred H.B. No. 994 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose of this measure is to:


(1) Require the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development to perform a study to refine rural district policies, identify strategies for expansion of the rural district, and submit reports of its findings and recommendations to the Legislature; and


(2) Appropriate funds for the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development to perform the study and complete all required reports.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; Department of Agriculture; Office of Planning and Sustainable Development; Maui County Farm Bureau; and Hawaii Farm Bureau. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual.


Your Committee finds that the State and counties have not made effective use of the state rural land use district. Currently, there are 10,454 acres in the rural district, which amount to 0.3 percent of all lands in the State, and there are no rural district lands on Oahu. Your Committee further finds that redefinition and expansion of the rural district will enable better land use management of existing rural settlements and rural centers and residential dwellings engaged in subsistence or lifestyle agriculture, which are not explicitly permitted in the agricultural district.


Your Committee notes that the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development completed a state land use review of districts in January 2022. The review found that the potential for preserving much of the State's open space, rural communities, and working lands may be realized by redefining the policy framework for the rural district and facilitating the reclassification of lands from the agricultural to the rural district to accommodate existing settlements where lifestyle and subsistence farms predominate. Your Committee believes that further refinement of rural district policies and strategies to expand the rural district are needed to reach those potentials.


Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Changing the appropriation to an unspecified amount;


(2) Changing the effective date to June 30, 3000, to encourage further discussion; and


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


Your Committee respectfully requests your Committee on Finance, should it deliberate on this measure, to consider an appropriation amount of $300,000.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Water & Land that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 994, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 994, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Finance.



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