S.B. NO.



S.D. 1
















     SECTION 1.  The legislature recognizes that pursuant to section 205-41, Hawaii Revised Statutes, there is a compelling state interest in conserving state agricultural lands.  The legislature also recognizes that Act 211, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, as amended by Act 196, Session Laws of Hawaii 2010, established a taro security and purity task force that was responsible for developing guidelines, protocols, and recommendations for taro policy, among other duties.  In a 2009 report entitled "E Ola Hou Ke Kalo; Hoi Hou Ka Aina Leia (The Taro Lives; Abundance Returns to the Land), the task force recommended improved protections for taro growing lands, including loi (wet fields and terraces), mala (dry fields and terraces), kuana or paepae pohaku (stone walls), and auwai (irrigation ditches).  The task force found that these key structural elements for viable taro production were being destroyed, severed, and built upon by private and public development because of gaps in land use, historic preservation, and planning laws and policies.

     The purpose of this Act is to improve protections for wetland taro lands and ancient agricultural structures on state owned or acquired lands.

     SECTION 2.  Section 206-7, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsections (a) and (b) to read as follows:

     "(a)  In declaring development areas, and acquiring land therein, the board of land and natural resources shall avoid disturbing existing uses that are in accord with the highest use permitted under any existing zoning ordinance in the political subdivision concerned.  The board shall not disturb existing ancient taro-growing systems, ancient wetland taro lands, or structural elements of ancient wetland taro-growing systems on underdeveloped lands used for wetland taro cultivation before statehood and currently in use for wetland taro cultivation.

     (b)  The board shall not acquire for development projects:

     (1)  Lands already developed and improved as business or industrial areas where use of the lands for residential purposes or as a part of a development project would be economically unsound or where an undue hardship would be suffered by the community through loss of service because of the acquisition;

     (2)  Lands already in use for residential purposes by the owner thereof or by a lessee holding a lease with an original term of twenty years or more, except where the acquisition of parts of the lands is reasonably necessary for the proper development of a project, but in no case shall any part of the lands be taken where the taking will reduce the parcel to less than three acres in extent;

     (3)  Lands in the process of subdivision and development where the owner or the owner's agent has provided that at least fifty per cent of the lots to be sold shall be sold in fee simple, prepared subdivision and construction plans, arranged for financing, and applied to government agencies and otherwise taken steps that may be appropriate for the construction of the proposed development in good faith and filed an affidavit with the board to that effect; [or]

     (4)  Lands used or to be used as sites for churches, private or parochial schools, clubs, meeting houses, or other private uses of a community, civic, social, or religious nature; or

     (5)  Undeveloped lands and infrastructure used for wetland taro cultivation before statehood and currently in use for wetland taro cultivation, including ancient wetland taro lands and structural elements of ancient wetland taro-growing systems;

provided that portions of the lands [mentioned under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4),] described in this subsection, or interests therein, may be taken to provide access and utility easements where no other reasonable means of access or utility easements are available."

     SECTION 3.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

     SECTION 4.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2023.



Report Title:

Board of Land and Natural Resources; Agricultural Lands; Taro Land Protection



Prohibits the Board of Land and Natural Resources from disturbing or acquiring for development certain wetland taro‑growing lands.  (SD1)




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