Letter: Save the Land Use Commission. Oppose Bill 828.

Aloha, everyone.  Believe it or not, some folks are still trying to eliminate the Land Use Commission.  Let’s stop them!   Please submit testimony opposing HB 828, Relating to Land Use, which guts the LUC and eliminates its fair, deliberative process for most land use classification boundary amendments.  This bill has serious implications, especially for agricultural and conservation land, public trust resources, traditional and customary practices, and quality of life.  The hearing is this Friday.  Please share this Kokua Alert with others.  Mahalo nui loa.

Description:  Upon approval by county land use decision-making authority, and with concurrence from Land Use Commission, requires boundary amendments reflected in certain plans to be adopted in accordance with such approved plans.  Prioritizes funding for public infrastructure in areas of planned growth.

Hearing:  House Committee on Water and Land, Chair Ryan Yamane, Vice Chair Ty Cullen
Friday, February 13, 2015, 10 am Room 325

Link to hearing notice:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=828&year=2015
Link to bill: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/bills/HB828_.HTM
Link to submit testimony:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx

Talking Points:

Chair Yamane, Vice Chair Cullen, and Members of the Committee.

I oppose HB 828 because it is not in the public’s best interest to politicize the Land Use Commission’s process for amending state land use classification boundaries.

HB 828 requires the LUC to approve any district boundary amendment that is approved by a county council in any county general plan, development plan, or community plan.

HB 828 will gut the LUC, making it a rubber-stamp body for narrow county and private interests.

Developers cannot contribute money to Land Use Commissioners, but developers can – and do – contribute regularly to county council members, who would have authority over many boundary amendments if HB 828 passes.

HB 828 could result in the immediate, rapid urbanization of thousands of acres of conservation and agricultural land across the state because there are large tracts of land already approved for urbanization in plans that have not been approved by the LUC.

HB 828 would interfere with the LUC’s affirmative duty to protect constitutionally recognized Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights and public trust resources.

Many special places have been protected by the independent LUC and its fair process, including La‘au Point on west Moloka‘i, ‘O‘oma near Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Pohue Bay on the Big Island, and Keopuka next to Kealakekua Bay to name a few.

HB 828 will eliminate the deliberative, quasi-judicial process – sometimes referred to as contested case hearings – for many important boundary amendments that would come before the LUC.

Contested case hearings are the LUC’s most important power.  Contested case hearings are also one of the most valuable tools citizens, agencies, and businesses have to protect public trust resources.

HB 828 would result in effectively taking away much-needed funds to repair aging infrastructure in existing areas where residents live and work by requiring the funding of infrastructure for areas of new growth.

HB 828 appears to impose a duty on state and county agencies to provide funding for infrastructure (water, sewer, schools, roads, etc.) to support the new development without requiring the beneficiaries of the new infrastructure to pay any of the costs they are imposing on other taxpayers.


–Marjorie Ziegler

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