PAAUILO, Hawaii: The County of Hawaii today announced it is offering the Hamakua Lands in Paauilo up for bids on long term leases.
The following media release was issued on Thursday:
The County of Hawai`i is inviting farmers, ranchers and other interested applicants to bid on long-term leases for 718 acres of county-owned lands at Pa`auilo.
The 16 parcels of land range from less than 13 acres to nearly 110 acres, and are available for 10-year leases. The minimum rental price will be $11.63 per acre per year, which is based on an outside market appraisal of the land.
“We are pleased to be offering these lands up to the community to put them back into productive agricultural use,” said County of Hawai`i Mayor Billy Kenoi. “These lands have been sitting idle since the county first acquired them about 16 years ago, and we believe putting these lands back into production will provide a welcome boost to our agricultural sector.”
The county will host an informational open house at Pa `auilo Gym from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on September 1 to discuss the details of the new leasing program, and to answer questions from the public.
All proposals by bidders must comply with the current agricultural zoning on the Pa`auilo lands, and must meet the terms of Hawai`i County Council Resolution 38-11. All proposals must be received by the county by 4:30 p.m. on October 14, 2011.
For more information, please visit www.co.hawaii.hi.us, or contact the county Property Management Division at (808) 961-8069.
On April 6th, the Hawaii County Council adopted a resolution to leases the lands, setting a deadline of within 120 days of the vote. According to an article by Nancy Cook Lauer in West Hawaii Today, the administration missed the deadline, raising questions from Hamakua councilman and council chair Dominic Yagong.
These lands are different from the Kenoi-fast tracked Kapulena Agricultural Park, which is opening up 85 of its 1,739 acres to cattle grazing before it makes the land available for other uses.
Both parcels are on over 4,400 acres acquired by the county in 1994 in lieu of taxes from Hamakua Sugar Company when it closed down.
March 24, 2011 – Council committee passes Hamakua land lease resolution
The Hawaii County Council Finance Committee voted to rescind a prior resolution that authorized the county to sell the Hamakua lands, which were claimed by the county as a part of a tax settlement with Hamakua Sugar Company. The lands have lay fallow ever since, and numerous attempts to unload the property by different administrations throughout the years have been met with resistance.
The new resolution now authorizes the administration to invite proposals for lease of the lands, an attempt to finally put the land to use by the island community.
The resolution was not unanimously supported. It was only two years ago that a different council, configured under a different majority, voted to sell the lands to balance the budget. Today, Hilo Councilman Donald Ikeda still believes the lands are not worth keeping.
The administration is in support of the plan to lease the lands.