The State Land Use Law (Chapter 205, Hawaii Revised Statutes) is unique in the history of Hawaii land use planning. Originally adopted by the State Legislature in 1961, the Land Use Law establishes an overall framework of land use management whereby all lands in the State of Hawaii are classified into one of four land use districts:
PURPOSE OF THE LAW
In 1961, the Hawaii State Legislature determined that a lack of adequate controls had caused the development of Hawaii’s limited and valuable land for short-term gain for the few while resulting in long-term loss to the income and growth potential of our State’s economy. Development of scattered subdivisions, creating problems of expensive yet reduced public services, and the conversion of prime agricultural land to residential use, were key reasons for establishing the state-wide land use system.
To administer this state-wide land use law, the Legislature established the Land Use Commission. The Commission is responsible for preserving and protecting Hawaii’s lands and encouraging those uses to which lands are best suited.
COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission is composed of nine members, who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. One member is appointed from each of the four counties. Five members are appointed at-large. Commissioners are non-paid volunteers who represent a cross-section of the community.
ROLE OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission’s primary role is to ensure that areas of state concern are addressed and considered in the land use decision-making process.
The Commission establishes the district boundaries for the entire State. The Commission acts on petitions for boundary changes submitted by private landowners, developers and State and county agencies. The Commission also acts on requests for special use permits within the Agricultural and Rural Districts.