LIHU’E, Kauai – The Hawaiian Homes Commission voted (7-0) to amend its long-standing revocable permit program on Tuesday.
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands issued this media release on Tuesday:
| … The action today represents the start of many adjustments to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ RP program.
Like all state agencies, DHHL has just four instruments for disposition of its lands: general leases (long term), license (used for government, utility and infrastructure), RPs (limited term), and Right-Of-Entries or ROEs (limited term, limited use).
In May 2013, DHHL placed a 60-90 day moratorium on the issuance of new RPs. Those that were in process are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
During this period, DHHL also inspected the vast majority of its RP holdings. Eighty percent of permittees were found to be in compliance. Those not in compliance were due to non-payment of rent, failure to abide by the terms of their agreement, improper use of RP, non use, etc.
In June 2013, DHHL reviewed initial suggestions for improvement with Governor Neil Abercrombie’s Assessment Committee. DHHL will also meet with other organizations and land holders to achieve a broader perspective on stewardship, cultural sensitivities, land values, enforcement, etc. As DHHL finalizes and incorporates these changes into the new RP program, it will be taking the new program out for beneficiary consultations.
At the end of June, DHHL allowed all 178 RPs to expire to begin the transition from the old program to the new.
The Commission’s action today approves the issuance of ROEs for up to 12 months to RP holders in compliance. These ROEs will mirror the activities and permitted uses allowed under their existing RPs.
Those not in compliance will be given limited right of entries for 30 days from the receipt of their certified notice to bring their properties into compliance in order to be considered for future inclusion. There may be a few that will be terminated immediately.
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is a state agency responsible for the management of some 200,000 acres of former crown lands in the state of Hawaii. Most of that land (approximately 120,000 acres) is located on Hawaii Island.
Its been a rough few months for the DHHL. In April, the Hawaii state auditor blasted the Hawaiian Home Lands’ Homestead Services Division, saying the commission fails to meet its ﬁduciary obligations, and that DHHL’s lax management of loans undermines accountability to beneﬁciaries as a whole. Also, in May of this year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser published an investigative series that found the revocable permit program plagued by problems of mismanagement, lax oversight and selective enforcement.Jobie Masagatani, Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair and DHHL Director, was in Hilo last Friday, part of the Governor’s “Cabinet in Your Community” stop.
In a media release, Masagatani simply stated, “As we move forward, we will continue to keep our beneficiaries and the public informed of our progress.”