This article does not reflect the official position of the Hawaii Democratic Party
Repeal of the Act 55 which created the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) is among the highest priorities of the Environmental Caucus. This is an important hearing because it takes a comprehensive look at the PLDC and the legislation that has been introduced to either repeal or amened the PLDC.
Act 55 creates the PLDC and gives it powers to enter into public/private partnerships to develop state land to maximize tourism. It gives the PLDC unlimited power to sell or enter into 85 year leases with developers. It can do this with out a bid and without public review. Act 55 excludes the PLDC from any permitting requirements and requires only one public hearing. The PLDC has the right to designate the area around their development which will benefit from the development and access the landowners within that area with a tax to pay for the infrastructure required by the development. Land owners who cannot pay the assessment will loose their property.
The administration says these problems will be addressed by the rules the PLDC develops to govern its activities. Attorneys who have reviewed the law tell us that rules are much easier to change and only what is in the law really matters.
The bottom line is Act 55 is deeply flawed and should be repealed. At the very least, Act 55 must be amended to provide for transparency and removed the exemption from permitting requirements.
If you cannot give testimony personally, pleae email your testimony to the committees assigned to hear the bills you are interested in. Go to capitol.hawaii.gov and register. Once registered, you can track bills, get hearing notices and submit testimony. If you have questions, call the Public Access Room at 587-0478
Press release announcing hearing.
House of Representatives Takes First Step to Address the Public Land Development Corporation
The House Committee on Water and Land has scheduled a hearing on Saturday, February 9, 2013 regarding the abolishment of the Public Land Development Corporation or alternatives to achieve the original intent to generate revenue from public land.
In response to public frustration over the manner in which the Public Lands Development Corporation was created, how its rules were promulgated, the broad powers granted to the organization, and the lack of public input and participation in that process, the House Committee on Water and Land will be hearing bills that will either repeal the Public Land Development Corporation altogether, amend, or start from scratch and create a new agency that will provide far greater community input and oversight.
“As the Chair of Water and Land I am approaching the issue from the standpoint of repeal,” said Rep. Cindy Evans (District 7, North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala). “The PLDC cannot exist as is, something has to change; however, I am open to options and the most compelling argument will move forward.”
Rep. Nicole Lowen (District 6, Kailua-Kona) Vice-Chair of the Committee on Water and Land stated, “My community has expressed serious concerns about the PLDC, particularly about exemptions from planning, zoning and environmental laws. This legislation was passed with very little public oversight the first time around, and, this time, the public deserves to have a voice in the political process.”
“The people I have spoken with on Maui who understand the implications of PLDC support a full repeal. While I recognize the need for increased DLNR revenue and improved public land efficiencies, we must achieve these goals without posing a threat of undermining public input or skirting environmental regulations” said Rep. Kaniela Ing (District 11, South Maui). “The people, especially on the neighbor islands, are saying “try again” – we, as lawmakers, need to listen to them.”
Office of Representative Cindy Evans 808-586-8510