Monday, February 10, 2014
Act now: Hawaii’s Thousand Friends Good Bills alert 2/10/2014
Reproduced with permission. If you feel strongly about these issues, please follow the links and submit testimony. It’s easy, and important that the public weigh in. The first bill described below is needed to protect Hawaii’s farmland from the latest development schemes.
Good Bills 2014
GOOD BILLS 2014
Testimony needed in support of SB 2388 & SB 2390 to
Protect Hawaii's Farmland
Submit testimony online: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/login.aspx
Submitting testimony on line has changed. You are now required to Sign In to submit your first testimony.
SB 2388 RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL LAND (Laura Thielen, Baker, Chun Oakland, Green, Ihara, Ruderman, Nishihara)
Passage of SB 2388 would prohibit using CPR (Condominium Property Regime) to create or subdivide agricultural land consisting of 25-acres or larger.
CPR is a way around county zoning and public involvement.
CPR is a real estate law and does not have a public involvement component or enforcement mechanisms.
CPR can allow greater density of agricultural land than is permitted under county zoning.
CPR is a being used as a land use tool, which it is not the intent of the law.
CPR is being used to circumvent county planning and zoning for ag land by subdividing ag land into smaller "house" lots than is permitted under county zoning.
CPR is being used to create exclusive subdivisions, not farm lots on ag land.
The most recent example of this is Kahu Aina Plantation development on Kauai's North Shore, where 360 acres of ag land is being subdivided under CPR.
Kahu Aina is advertised as a secluded enclave, master planned development with large estates, and opportunity for beachfront estates with interest coming from Asia and high-profile celebrities in California.
The only mention of agriculture on this ag zoned and designated 360 acres is a 27-acre agricultural easement consisting of permanent crops such as palm trees...
The 360 acres that make up Kahu Aina may or may not be appropriate for farming but that discussion has not occurred because using CPR to subdivide ag land bypasses any public hearings or public involvement because CPR is a real estate transaction, not a land use law.
Using CPR to subdivide ag land ignores Hawaii's State Land Use Law HRS 205 that provides that land classified as agricultural must be used for agriculture with permitted farm dwellings defined as accessory to farm operations.
In 1961 Hawaii became the first state to pass a law enabling the creation of condominiums. That law is codified in HRS 514 A Condominium Property Regimes.
CPR is a land ownership law, a consumer protection law, and a community governance law. It is not a land use law; i.e., it does not govern what structures may be built on real property; separate state and county land use laws control or should control land use matters.
CPR is an enabling law, allowing people to:
Own real estate under condominium form of property ownership (i.e., where each individual member holds title to a specific unit and an undivided interest as "tenant-in-common" with other unit owners in common elements such as the exterior of buildings, structural components, grounds, amenities, and internal roads and infrastructure).
In the early 2000s HRS 514A was changed to reflect that county zoning prevails and CPR cannot be used to circumvent county planning and implementing zoning. This change had statewide support, including the support of county mayors.
HRS 514A-1.6 Conformance with county land use ordinances.
Any condominium property regime established under this chapter shall conform to the existing underlying county zoning for the property and all applicable county permitting requirements adopted by the county in which the property is located, including any supplemental rules adopted by the county, pursuant to section ∞14-45, to ensure the conformance of CPR to the purposes and provisions of county zoning and development ordinances and chapter 205. In the case of a property, which includes one or more existing structures being converted to condominium status, the CPR shall comply with sec 514A-11(13) or 514A-40(b).
To create a CPR on ag land, the sole owner or owners declare, through the execution and recordation of a master deed, together with a declaration, which declaration shall set forth the particulars enumerated by section §514A-11, the desire to submit the property to the regime established by this chapter, there shall thereby be established a condominium property regime with respect to the property...
SB 2390 RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL LAND (Laura Thielen, Green, Chun Oakland, Ihara, Ruderman)
SB 2390 helps prevent the loss and fragmentation of Hawaii's farmland by requiring
Prior to the selling or leasing of public (HRS 171) ag land 25 acres or greater to a county or state agency that there be an accounting of the number of contiguous ag land parcels 25 acres or greater that are on the same island and meet one or more criteria for lands eligible for IAL (Important Agricultural Land) designation
Identification and consideration of the inventory of large parcels of ag land prior to a land reclassification or district boundary amendment that reclassifies ag land 25 acres or greater to another state land use classification such as urban or rural
Any person filing a petition for a district boundary amendment or reclassification to another state land use classification such as urban involving 25+ acres or more of ag lands to identify the number of parcels of ag land consisting of 25+ acres that meet one or more IAL criteria on the island where the amendment or reclassification is sought
Land Use Commission to consider
* Whether the land would be eligible for designation as IAL
* The number of parcels of 25+ acres of ag land on the island where the
amendment or reclassification is sought
By December 31, 2009 the state departments of Agriculture and Land and Natural Resources were required to have identified potential public lands to be designated important agricultural lands and prepared maps delineating those lands. (HRS 205-44.5) This has not happened.
Act 183, passed in 2005, requires the counties to identify and map potential important ag lands. This has not happened.
Neither the counties nor the state have identified and mapped potential important ag lands as required.
SB 2390 is needed to help ensure that large contiguous parcels of ag land are identified as eligible for IAL prior to being sold, leased or considered for a district boundary amendment change to other uses such as to urban.
HRS 205-43 IAL policies
Promote the retention of important agricultural lands in blocks of contiguous, intact, and functional land units large enough to allow flexibility in agricultural production and management
Discourage the fragmentation of important agricultural lands and the conversion of these lands to nonagricultural uses
Direct nonagricultural uses and activities from important agricultural lands to other areas and ensure that uses on important agricultural lands are actually agricultural uses
Limit physical improvements on important agricultural lands to maintain affordability of these lands for agricultural purposes
Facilitate the long-term dedication of important agricultural lands for future agricultural use through the use of incentives
Facilitate the access of farmers to important agricultural lands for long-term viable agricultural use; and
Objective of IAL
To identify and plan for the maintenance of a strategic ag land resource base that can support a diversity of ag activities and opportunities that expand ag income and job opportunities and increase ag self-sufficiency for current and future generations (HRS 205-42)
Capable of producing sustained high ag yields when treated and managed according to accepted farming methods and technology
Contribute to the State's economic base and produce ag commodities for export or local consumption; or
Are needed to promote the expansion of ag activities and income for the future, even if currently not in production
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