HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO LAND USE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the State and counties have not made effective use of the state rural land use district, one of four districts established by the state land use law in chapter 205, Hawaii Revised Statutes. Currently, there are 10,454 acres in the rural district, which amount to 0.3 per cent of all lands in the State, and there are no rural district lands on Oahu. Marginal agricultural lands in the agricultural land use district are being used for rural lifestyle farms and residences with no farm activity, which increases the cost of land in the agricultural district used for bona fide farming operations.
The legislature further finds that there is potential for greater use of the rural district to differentiate rural communities and lifestyle farms from working or commercial agricultural lands and to enable better protection of productive agricultural lands and the open space character of Hawaii's rural areas. Redefinition and expansion of the rural district would 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.
The office of planning and sustainable development completed a state land use review of districts report in January 2022 pursuant to section 205-18, Hawaii Revised Statutes. The review found that the potential for preserving much of Hawaii'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 lower-density rural settlement patterns and subsistence farming lifestyles.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Require the office of planning and sustainable development to conduct a study to refine rural district policies;
(2) Identify strategies for expansion of the rural district; and
(3) Appropriate funds for the study.
SECTION 2. The office of planning and sustainable development shall conduct a study that includes but is not limited to:
(1) An analysis of the rural district policies and standards within the land use law to redefine and increase the effectiveness of the rural district in protecting agricultural working lands;
(2) Research of best practices for rural land use policy and land use regulation in other jurisdictions for consideration in the redefinition of the rural district;
(3) Development of options and identification of areas for expansion of the rural district through the reclassification of areas in the agricultural district to the rural district; and
(4) Development of recommendations for legislation to:
(A) Redefine the rural district policies and standards; and
(B) Facilitate the reclassification of areas in the agricultural district to the rural district.
SECTION 3. In conducting the study required by this Act, the office of planning and sustainable development shall coordinate its efforts with the land use commission, department of agriculture, and county planning departments. The office of planning and sustainable development shall engage community stakeholders, including farming interests and interested members of the general public, in the development of study recommendations.
SECTION 4. The office of planning and sustainable development shall submit:
(1) An interim report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2024; and
(2) A final report of its findings and recommendations, including any
proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the
convening of the regular session of 2025.
SECTION 5. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2023-2024 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2024-2025 for the office of planning and sustainable development to conduct the study and complete all required reports pursuant to this Act.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of business, economic development, and tourism for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Office of Planning and Sustainable Development; Land Use; Rural District Study; Appropriation
Requires the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development to conduct a study to refine rural district policies and make recommendations to facilitate the reclassification of lands from the agricultural district to the rural district. Requires reports to the Legislature. Appropriates funds. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1)
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