Hawaii News: Task Force to Hold Hearings on Land Use Planning


The Hawaii State Land Use Review Task Force is preparing to hold a series of meetings throughout the state to gather public input on the state’s land use regulations and process. The Hawaii County meetings will be held, Tuesday, December 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the county’s Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo and Wednesday, December 3, from 6 to 8 p.m at the Kona Natural Energy Lab Conference Room.“These meetings may be of particular interest to land owners, developers, farmers, conservation groups, planners and others who have had or will have experience with State land use, district boundary amendments, and special permit matters,” notes the Hawaii Office of Planning’s Web site.But some conservationists worry that the hearings may be the beginning of another attempt to abolish or defang the state’s Land Use Commission. Public testimony and contested case hearings before the Commission have played key roles in stopping development projects at O‘oma, Pohue Bay, Keopuka and other areas on this island.
“I hear this ‘review’ of land use laws is supposed to happen every 5 years but hasn’t happened in decades – some people think this is yet another attempt to do away with the Land Use Commission/LUC – which would be a bad deal if you have a bad council and county administration,” noted Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation attorney David Kimo Frankel, in a widely-circulated e-mail.
Conservation groups are heavily outvoted on the Commission, and Native Hawaiians are represented only by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs member; farmers are represented only by Farm Bureau. Consumer groups, homeowners, community associations and organic farmers have no representatives on the task force, which consists of representatives from twelve state and county agencies, the State Senate and House of Representatives, the Waikiki Improvement Association, Farm Bureau, the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, the Hawaii Chapters of the American Planning Association and the American Institution of Architects, the Building Industry Association of Hawaii, The Hawaii Sierra Club, the Outdoor Circle, OHA, and the Land Use Research Foundation, or LURF, which represents 21 large landowning and development corporations.
Among the things that Frankel says the Task Force is “pushing” are the conversion of the LUC from “quasi-judicial” to “quasi-legislative”–which could eliminate contested case hearings; the conversion of “non-productive” ag lands to easier-to-develop “rural” or “urban” categories, and the idea that the LUC may not be needed at all.


Correction: You can Still Vote Absentee, if You Already Have an Absentee Ballot

Earlier today we ran a story about changes in the polling places due to the lava crisis.  In it, we misinterpreted an Elections Commission press release, and said that October 28 was the last day to vote via absentee ballot.  That was incorrect.  Today was the last day on which voters could request an absentee ballot.  In preparation for the lava flow, county election officials mailed absentee mail applications to voters in the area and set-up an early vote location at Nanawale Community Center, which is open through October 31, 2014.

We regret the error.

All of HVNP Closed Today; May Reopen Tomorrow

On August 6, we published a bulletin from the National Park Service, saying that campgrounds and some roads would be closed today because of Hurricane Iselle.  Today the Park Service sent the following correction:

Hawaii National Park, Hawai‘i – Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is closed today, Friday, August 8, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle, park officials said. Every attempt will be made to reopen the park and its visitor centers on Saturday, August 9, 2014. “The highways and roads are still unsafe, with downed trees, power lines and flash flooding. At the park, the power is out and the phones are down. It is far safer for our employees and our visitors to stay off the roads,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are currently assessing any damage, and hope to have the park open by Saturday,” she said. Volcano House and Kilauea Military Camp will remain open to registered guests. The other national parks on Hawai‘i Island are also closed Friday, including Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Pu‘ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. The National Weather Service downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm. A tropical storm warning and a flash flood warning remain in effect for all Hawaiian Islands.

Correction — John Carroll’s Conservative Forum For Hawaii Address Is Sunday

John Carroll will give the May address of the Conservative Forum for Hawaii on “The Jones Act And The Akaka Bill: Legal And Practical Aspects” at 2 p.m., May 16, 2010 in the Palm Room at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort. A blog entry posted May 7, 2010 incorrectly stated the date of the meeting. That blog entry has since been corrected.