THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO IMPORTANT AGRICULTURAL LANDS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The important agricultural lands designation serves as a resource overlay, a comprehensive statewide resource map, to identify those lands that are of significant agricultural value to the State. This resource overlay or map is intended to broadly inform decision-makers of those lands that are needed to sustain Hawaii's agricultural industry and for which agricultural incentives should be targeted to promote and support high levels of agricultural production over the long-term.
Section 205-47, Hawaii Revised Statutes, establishes a process for the counties to identify lands to be recommended for designation as important agricultural lands by the state land use commission. Section 205-49, Hawaii Revised Statutes, describes a process for land use commission decision-making on the county maps that is ambiguous as to whether this is a rulemaking or contested case proceeding. Section 15-15-125(d), Hawaii Administrative Rules, of the state land use commission's rules states that the adoption of county maps of important agricultural lands is through rulemaking. The rule recognizes that this resource mapping involves hundreds of parcels and cannot in practical terms be designated through hundreds of individual contested case hearings, but must rather be designated through public hearings and a quasi-legislative process. In this respect, the land use commission rule mirrors the method by which the counties adopt their regional community and development plans.
Accordingly, the purposes of this bill are to:
(1) Amend section 205-49, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to clarify that adoption of maps from a county is through rulemaking in conformance with existing land use commission rules; and
(2) Repeal section 205-45.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to remove an unclear incentive related to farm dwellings on lands designated as important agricultural lands that hinders adoption of county important agricultural lands maps.
SECTION 2. Section 205-49, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) After receipt of the maps of eligible important agricultural lands from the counties and the recommendations of the department of agriculture and the office of planning and sustainable development, the commission shall then proceed to identify and designate important agricultural lands, subject to section 205-45. The decision shall consider the county maps of eligible important agricultural lands; declaratory orders issued by the commission designating important agricultural lands during the three year period following the enactment of legislation establishing incentives and protections contemplated under section 205-46, as provided in section 9 of Act 183, Session Laws of Hawaii 2005; landowner position statements and representations; and any other relevant information.
In designating important agricultural lands in the State, pursuant to the recommendations of individual counties, the commission shall consider the extent to which:
(1) The proposed lands meet the standards and criteria under section 205-44;
(2) The proposed designation is necessary to meet the objectives and policies for important agricultural lands in sections 205-42 and 205-43; and
(3) The commission has designated lands as important agricultural lands, pursuant to section 205-45; provided that if the majority of landowners' landholdings is already designated as important agricultural lands, excluding lands held in the conservation district, pursuant to section 205-45 or any other provision of this part, the commission shall not designate any additional lands of that landowner as important agricultural lands except by a petition pursuant to section 205-45.
Any decision regarding
the designation of lands as important agricultural lands and the adoption of maps
of those lands pursuant to this section shall be based upon written findings of
fact and conclusions of law, presented in] The commission shall conduct
at least one public hearing [ conducted] in the county where the land is located
[ in accordance with chapter 91, that the subject lands] to receive
testimony from the public. The
commission shall subsequently designate lands as important agricultural lands
by adopting a map of the county recommendations, in whole or in part, of those
lands that meet the standards and criteria set forth in section 205-44,
and the adoption of maps shall be approved by two-thirds of the membership
to which the commission is entitled.
The adoption of maps designating important agricultural lands pursuant to this section shall not be through a contested case hearing, but rather through rulemaking pursuant to section 91-3."
SECTION 3. Section 205-45.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.
[§205-45.5] Important agricultural land; farm dwellings
and employee housing. A landowner whose
agricultural lands are designated as important agricultural lands may develop, construct,
and maintain farm dwellings and employee housing for farmers, employees, and their
immediate family members on these lands; provided that: (1) The
farm dwellings and employee housing units shall be used exclusively by farmers and
their immediate family members who actively and currently farm on important agricultural
land upon which the dwelling is situated; provided further that the immediate family
members of a farmer may live in separate dwelling units situated on the same designated
land; (2) Employee
housing units shall be used exclusively by employees and their immediate family
members who actively and currently work on important agricultural land upon which
the housing unit is situated; provided further that the immediate family members
of the employee shall not live in separate housing units and shall live with the
employee; (3) The
total land area upon which the farm dwellings and employee housing units and all
appurtenances are situated shall not occupy more than five per cent of the total
important agricultural land area controlled by the farmer or the employee's employer
or fifty acres, whichever is less; (4) The
farm dwellings and employee housing units shall meet all applicable building code
requirements; (5) Notwithstanding
section 205-4.5(a)(12), the landowner shall not plan or develop a residential subdivision
on the important agricultural land; (6) Consideration
may be given to the cluster development of farm dwellings and employee housing units
to maximize the land area available for agricultural production; and (7) The
plans for farm dwellings and employee housing units shall be supported by agricultural
plans that are approved by the department of agriculture."]
SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Important Agricultural Lands; Adoption of County Maps of Lands to Be Designated as Important Agricultural Lands
Clarifies the decision-making process for the Land Use Commission adoption of maps of Important Agricultural Lands and repeals the farm dwelling and farm employee housing incentive for lands designated as Important Agricultural Lands in chapter 205, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.