Senate Water and Land Chair to Visit the Islands of Maui and Lana‘i

MAUI –Senate Water and Land Chair Malama Solomon will conduct site visits on the islands of Maui and Lana‘i from Wednesday, September 18 to Friday, September 20, 2013. Invited by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the Senator will receive updates on various programs, projects, and concerns. Senator Gilbert Kahele, chair of the Tourism Committee, will also be joining the group.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
• Koa forest watershed project
• Iao Valley State Monument
• Lipoa Point

Thursday, September 19, 2013
• New DOCARE enforcement boat Ha’ena State Park
• Lahaina Harbor
• Manele Bay Small Boat Harbor
• Lana‘i Island watershed

Friday, September 20, 2013
• Lana‘i Island Baseyard

I applaud the Department of Land and Natural Resources for organizing these informative site visits and look forward to learning more about their work on the islands of Maui and Lana‘i,” said Senator Malama Solomon. “Through working collaboratively with the department we will be able to better define and address the needs of all of our islands.”

These visits are part of a number of statewide site visits the Senator and DLNR are conducting this interim.

Senate Water and Land Chair to Visit Kaua‘i Island

Kaua‘i –Senate Water and Land Chair Malama Solomon will conduct Kaua‘i Island site visits on Monday, September 16 and Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Invited by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the Senator will receive updates on various programs, projects, and concerns.

Monday, September 16, 2013

  • DLNR DOFAW Base Yard
  • Kalalau Valley
  • Koke’e and Waimea Canyon State Park

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

  • Wailua River Complex/ Drive to Ha’ena
  • Ha’ena State Park

I am appreciative of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for taking the initiative to set up these site visits,” said Senator Malama Solomon. “Through garnering firsthand knowledge of the progress and concerns of Kaua‘i Island we will be better able to work together to address the island’s current and future needs.”

The Kaua‘i Island visit is part of a number of statewide site visits the Senator and DLNR will conduct this interim.

Department of Land and Natural Resources to Update Senate Water and Land Committee

Honolulu- The Senate Committee on Water and Land will be holding an informational briefing to receive updates on several emergent issues being addressed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

The briefing will be held on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the State Capitol conference room 229.

During the briefing the committee and department will discuss:

 

  • Beginning at 9:30 a.m.: The effects of the Federal sequester within DLNR.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Concerns raised in the Audit of the Kaho‘olawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund regarding the trust fund itself and restoration plan.
  • 1:30 p.m.: The search for a new Division Administrator for the DLNR State Historic Preservation Division, as well as concerns regarding the National Park Service Corrective Action Plan.

This informational briefing is an opportunity for us to sit down with Department of Land and Natural Resources and discuss where they are in addressing key items concerning the State,” said Senator Malama Solomon, chair of the Senate Committee on Water and Land. “Through developing a stronger understanding of the organization’s current status we will be better able to plan for the future and prepare for the potential impacts of events such as sequestration.”

Other relevant issues will also be discussed.

Concerns on Public Land Development Corporation Must Be Addressed

Honolulu — “Insuring that the residents of Hawai’i directly benefit from the thousands of acres they own as public lands  throughout the State – and putting in place 21st century partnership strategies to protect and appropriately steward these lands now and for future generations – these are the reasons I voted for the Public Land Development Corporation – Act 55, which was passed by the 2011 Legislature,” said Hawai’i Island Senator Malama Solomon (District 1, Waimea, Hamakua, North Hilo, Rural South Hilo and Hilo).

But implementation of Act 55 has drawn a wave of concern during recent statewide public hearings on PLDC draft Administrative Rules.

“I am sorely disappointed that there is so much misinformation, but I also understand the concern.  Our public lands are a ‘treasure’ that must be protected.  Listening to the concerns raised, the Governor and the PLDC have agreed to work with the State Senate and House Committees on Water/Land and prepare a Strategic Plan that clarifies the vision, mission, goals and values of the PLDC, putting public benefits as the top priority,” said Sen. Solomon.

“Our state is very unique in the nation.  The State owns and manages most of the public lands, while in other states, the federal government is the owner and manager. This legislation is patterned after the Federal National Park Mission statement, which is to conserve the scenery, the natural and historic objects and to provide for the public’s enjoyment of these features in a manner that will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Sen. Solomon, who supported the legislation that created the PLDC as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Housing.

“Our committee and others in both the House and Senate spent a great deal of time in public hearings drafting this legislation to be sure environmental, cultural and sunshine laws and regulations were honored and that the end product really would put public interest first,” Sen. Solomon said.

“It is my hope and vision that PLDC creates a vehicle to replicate what I call “The Yosemite Model” — which incorporates the National Park Mission Statement, protecting the great beauty and environmental integrity of this national treasure, while providing recreational choices, employment and income generation to support essential health and safety services and caretaking.”

“Some of the concerns raised reflect misunderstandings.  PLDC projects shall comply with EIS (HRS 343), Historic Preservation (HRS 6E), Hawai’i Sunshine Law (HRS 92), Prohibition on sale of ceded lands (HRS 171-64.7), and Wage Rate Schedule (HRS 104).  There’s a laundry list of guidelines that delineates precautions imposed to insure that PLDC-initiated partnerships “improve our communities, create jobs, and expand public benefit.”

“For some, partnerships are a new way of doing business, but in today’s economic climate, partnerships are the only way we can effectively improve public benefit and make things happen without raising taxes or fees,” said Sen. Solomon.

Also, PLDC partnerships must have (1) value and significance to the community, (2) help preserve culture, agriculture, conservation and preservation; (3) be self-sustaining, (4) have a positive economic impact, and (5) have long-term value, according to the PLDC Operating Framework – 2012.

The agreement by the Governor and PLDC to prepare a PLDC Strategic Plan was announced in a letter Sen. Solomon wrote to Kalbert Young, Chair of the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC), specifically in response to concerns expressed at statewide public hearings regarding the intention of the PLDC’s purpose and mission.

“Concerns raised related to Native Hawaiian land rights seriously got my attention,” said Sen. Solomon, who has been at the forefront of protection of Hawaiian lands and rights issues for nearly 30 years, beginning with serving as one of the first elected Trustees Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

“Act 55 creating PLDC says that PLDC will pay OHA any ceded land revenues as required by HRS 10-13.5.  Further, to the extent that the PLDC has a role in addressing other Native Hawaiian issues, the legislature and governor have agreed to do everything in our power to ensure that the PLDC works collaboratively with the appropriate agencies.”

For more specifics on the PLDC Operating Framework, Mission, Vision, Values, Key elements, go to: http://manage.hawaii.gov/gov/faq/public-land-development-corporation-pldc.

Governor Enacts Measures to Support Local Farms

(Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor)

Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Clarence Nishihara and committee member Senator Ronald Kouchi joined Governor Neil Abercrombie today as he signed Senate Bill 2375 and Senate Bill 2646 into law. Together, these measures aim to benefit local farmers who want to sell their products and/or establish agricultural-based commercial operations.

Senate Bill 2375 defines agricultural- based commercial operations and authorizes agricultural-based commercial operations in agricultural districts. Senate Bill 2646 intends to encourage and support diversified agriculture and agricultural self-sufficiency in the State by exempting certain nonresidential agricultural buildings that are on commercial farms from county building permit requirements.

For more information and to view other measures enacted by the Governor go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/report.aspx?type=acts.

Senate Bill Intended to Build Transit-Oriented Development Zones to be Heard Today

HONOLULU – Addressing the need to preserve agriculture lands while balancing the need to address population growth on Oahu, Senate Bill 2927 intends to build transit-oriented development zones along a bus transit center or rail transit station. The bus transit center areas that would be developed would be located within the county development or sustainable plans for Ewa, Central Oahu and the primary urban centers (Honolulu). The rail transit station areas that would be developed, as designated by the county to achieve density and ridership goals, would be located at east Kapolei, the University of Hawaii West Oahu, West Loch, Waipahu, or Leeward Community College.

Responding to the needs of the community, a conference draft of the bill was created. The bill is aimed at creating a process for residential and commercial qualified projects and to establish the transit-oriented or main-street redevelopment program. The measure will go before the conference committee Thursday, April 26 at 2:10 p.m. in the State Capitol’s room 224.

Under the bill’s concept, each transit station would be the hub of economic development through the creation of a mixed-used community. “By creating planning districts in and around the designated transit stations, we would reduce the number of cars on the road because we would be developing ‘walking cities’ where people can work and live,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who introduced the bill. “This is smart planning for the future. We would promote public transportation and preserve our agriculture and open land.”

In order to protect our unspoiled landscapes and farming lands, this bill also aims to create opportunity to increase the development of affordable housing facilities and vertical urban development in the vicinity of the transit stations. “Honolulu needs dense vertical urban development, and not suburban sprawl which has led to less green, congested roads, hefty infrastructure requirements, more pollution, and quality of life issues. We need parents spending three hours with their children, and not in their cars,” said Dela Cruz.

According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, nine percent of Hawaii households are multigenerational, the highest percentage in the nation. “Owning a home has become entirely unfeasible for the majority of our workforce and Gen-Y’ers who are the backbone and future to our economy,” he added.

Developers would still need to adhere to an environmental impact study and/or environmental review before breaking ground on the project, which can only occur within a planning district designated by the county. Under this measure, the county would also be able to establish a criterion of development in order to preserve the unique characteristics of each community. The public will also have a chance to be part of the community planning process.

“An opportunity for Hawaii to become economically diverse presents itself. We have the chance to shape and to provide for today’s demanding industries so that Hawaii’s future generations have the opportunity to stay home and work rather than being limited to what we have now and move elsewhere.”

Settlement Regarding Ceded Lands Poised for Full Senate Vote

HONOLULU – Senate Bill 2783, relating to public trust lands, is expected to go before the full Senate for a vote tomorrow, March 6, 2012. If passed, the legislation will move to the House for consideration.  The Senate Committees on Judiciary and Labor and Ways and Means passed the measure out of committee without amendments last Friday.

It was a landmark decision for the committees to pass the bill,” said Senator J. Kalani English, a member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.  “This has been a long time coming and it is the first step in the right direction.”

Senate Bill 2783 would convey Kaka‘ako Makai lands to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).  The State and OHA agree that a $200 million approximate settlement amount represents a reasonable compromise of the disputed claims.  To satisfy that $200 million amount, the State is conveying contiguous and adjacent parcels in Kaka‘ako Makai.   The parcels are near Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park, including Fisherman’s Warf.

If the measure is ultimately approved by the Governor, all disputes and controversies relating to OHA’s portion of income and proceeds from the public trust lands will be extinguished and discharged as well as bar all claims, suits, and actions for the period November 7, 1978 through June 30, 2012.

I am satisfied we are moving forward with this bill to better the conditions of native Hawaiians and we at a certain point must trust the work of OHA and the administration in reaching this settlement,” added Sen. English, who represents District 6, encompassing Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.   “I thank Governor Abercrombie, OHA Chairperson Colette Machado and Attorney General David Louie for their efforts in reaching an agreement that Senators could consider.”

Public Land Development Corporation Executive Director Selected

HONOLULU — The board of directors for the Public Land Development Corporation, at its meeting on November 21, selected Lloyd Haraguchi as its executive director.

Haraguchi has more than 25 years of extensive experience in land use planning, zoning, development, government and community relations, and leasing in both the public and private sectors. He is currently the senior asset manager at Hawaii Land Management, where he manages all assets of the company consisting of agricultural land, water systems, telecom sites, and other zoned property. Haraguchi has been with Hawaii Land Management for 8 years. Prior to that position, he had worked for several other organizations, including Fort Street Investment Corporation and The Estate of James Campbell.

“Mr. Haraguchi brings a wealth of knowledge to his position,” said Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz, chair of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Housing. “I am confident he will work diligently with the board in facilitating the process of drafting rules and policies that will guide the Corporation.”

Chair Dela Cruz introduced Senate Bill 1555 during the 2011 legislative session, which subsequently became law when Governor Abercrombie put his signature on the bill in May. The measure (Act 55), established the Public Land Development Corporation which will serve as an arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

The overall purpose of the Corporation is to generate revenues that may be applied to the regulatory functions of DLNR. The Corporation is tasked to administer a culturally appropriate sensitive program that will make optimal use of public lands for the economic, environmental and social benefit for the people of Hawaii.

The Corporation will also identify public lands that are suitable for redevelopment, administer marketing analysis to determine the best revenue-generating programs for the public lands, enter into public-private agreements to appropriately redevelop the public lands and provide the leadership for the redevelopment, financing, improvement, or enhancement of the selected redevelopment opportunities.

Senate and House receive update on progress of State Historic Preservation Division

On On November 1, 2011, the Senate Committees on Water Land and Housing and Hawaiian Affairs held a joint informational briefing with their House counterparts to receive an update on the State Historic Preservation Division’s (SHPD) progress in meeting requirements issued by the National Park Service in 2010, in order to maintain future federal funding for SHPD activities.

During the briefing, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Director William Aila Jr. provided remarks to the Legislature regarding SHPD’s capability of meeting NPS specified requirements. SHPD will provide an update to the Legislature during the 2012 Legislative Session.

Background

The State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) falls under provision of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DNLR) and “works to preserve and sustain reminders of earlier times which link the past to the present.” To assist in the accomplishment of this goal, the division has three branches, which include history and culture, archaeology, and architecture.

In 2010, the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service (NPS) designated the SHPD as a “high risk grantee.” This designation was based on report of NPS’s 2009 audit findings that the state had not met its obligation under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). NPS determined that Hawaii had significant operational problems in several mandated activities, including Survey & Inventory, Review & Compliance, National Register of Historic Places, Certified Local Government administration, and Historic Preservation Planning.

To correct the problems identified in the report, NPS compiled a series of corrective actions that span a 2-year time period. Failure to meet all requirements specified in the corrective action plan will result in the removal of the State’s approval status, termination of all active grants, and ineligibility for any new grants until approved program status has been regained.

The loss of Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grant and funds and Hawaii’s approved program status would negatively impact the State’s economy. Without an approved State Historic Preservation Program:

  • Matching grant agreements between the NPS and Hawaii in excess of $1.1 million could be jeopardized
  • Uncertainty in how government agencies operating in Hawaii comply with Federal and state laws could cause serious delays in economic stimulus and other Federally-funded construction projects
  • Federal assistance provided through the SHPD could be restricted or unavailable to the citizens and property owners of Hawaii
  • Delay could occur in properties nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, which would adversely affect their eligibility for Federal and state historic preservation tax incentivizes, and/ or for historic preservation grant programs
  • There could be irreparable harm to locally and nationally significant historic properties of importance to the people of Hawaii and the nation.

The NPS report on Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division Operations
and other information related to SHPD can be found online at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/hpd/hpgrtg.htm.

Senate Committee on Water, Land and Housing Hosting DLNR Listening Sessions on Hawai‘i Island

HILO—The Senate Committee on Water, Land and Housing (WLH) Chair Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz and Vice Chair Senator Malama Solomon in partnership with Senator Gilbert Kahele are hosting the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Hawai‘i Island Listening Sessions on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, 2011. The DLNR Administration team, including Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr., First Deputy Guy H. Kaulukukui, and Water Deputy Bill M. Tam from Honolulu, is visiting Hawai‘i Island to hear community comments, questions, and concerns regarding topics under the Department’s jurisdiction.  This is part of a series of DLNR Listening Sessions to be conducted statewide.

“The meetings and site visits that DLNR has been conducting on the neighbor islands have been very successful in helping Senators address community concerns and needs,” said Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz, who has been attending the talk story sessions.

“Having Chair William Aila and his team visit the Big Island is a great opportunity for them to listen to residents and to see for themselves the pressing needs of our community,” said Senator Malama Solomon, who represents District 1, which encompasses Waimea, Hamakua, North Hilo, Keaukaha, and Hilo.

“I look forward to continuing the conversation with Chair William Aila and his DLNR team about finding a solution to the problem the axis deer is posing on the Big Island’s agricultural industry,” said Senator Gilbert Kahele, who represents District 2, encompassing Ka‘u, Puna and Hilo.

“These listening sessions are purely for the Department to visit with communities and receive feedback on the communities’ ideas and concerns relating to the Department’s responsibilities,” said William J. Aila, Jr., Chairperson of DLNR. “Community participation is essential to caring for our land and natural resources in Hawai‘i.”

The DLNR is responsible for managing 1.3 million acres of state land, 3 million acres of state ocean waters, 2 million acres of conservation district lands, our drinking water supply, our fisheries, coral reefs, indigenous and endangered flora and fauna, and all of Hawai‘i’s historic and cultural sites.  DLNR’s management responsibilities are vast and complex, from the mountaintops to three miles seaward of our beautiful coasts.  The health of Hawai‘i’s environment is integral and directly related to its economy and quality of life.

For more information on DLNR and its divisions, visit http://www.hawaii.gov/dlnr.

If you are unable to attend but would like to send your comments, questions, and concerns to the DLNR, please e-mail:  DLNR2011ListeningSessions@hawaii.gov

 

Hawai’i Island Public Listening Sessions

Hilo Listening Session

Hosted by Senators Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Malama Solomon and Gilbert Kahele

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Waiakea High School Cafeteria

155 West Kawili Street, Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720

Waimea Listening Session

Hosted by Senator Malama Solomon

Saturday, November 5, 2011

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School

67-1229 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, Hawai‘i 96743

Kona Listening Session

Hosted by DLNR

Saturday, November 5, 2011

3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Konawaena High School Cafeteria

81-1043 Konawaena School Road, Kealakekua, Hawai‘i 96750

Individuals requiring special assistance or accommodations are asked to contact the office of Senator Malama Solomon at (808) 586-7335 or 974-4000 Ext. 67335 toll free from the Neighbor Islands at least four days in advance of the meeting.

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