KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii: A last minute amendment to a house bill that would have specifically created a marina development district for the troubled Honokohau Harbor has transformed the legislation. The same bill now creates an Aloha Stadium special fund under the controversial Public Land Development Corporation.
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In its original form, HB2398 attempted to address Honokohau Harbor. The Department of Land and Natural Resources has been besieged by users of the harbor, who feel the facility is neglected and failing to meet its potential. Late last year, at a DLNR Listening Session held at the Konaweana School high school cafeteria, the community voiced its continued frustration (right). DLNR Chair William Aila received a list of complaints, and tried to address them where he could, although not always to the satisfaction of the crowd.
The bill, introduced this legislative session by Big Island representatives Denny Coffman and Cindy Evans, was written as follows:
RELATING TO LAND USE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the Honokohau harbor and marina in Kailua–Kona, county of Hawaii, is underused and not meeting its economic potential. To showcase Kailua–Kona as a premiere sportfishing and water activity destination, Honokohau harbor and marina should be developed as a world class, full service marina. The redeveloped area should include ancillary amenities such as a pedestrian promenade with commercial enterprises, retail shops, and restaurants for marina and harbor users to congregate and patronize, which would enhance the economic benefit for harbor and marina businesses and improve the quality of life for local residents and visitors.
The legislature also finds that the success of a harbor and marina facility is contingent upon the use of adjacent real property for complementary, supportive, marina-related services, facilities, and activities. Therefore, a new mechanism for localized harbor governance should be created, which includes designation of the Honokohau harbor and marina area as a community development district. This project would be known as the Honokohau marina development district and be composed of the approximately 58.81 acres known as the Honokohau small boat harbor and approximately 17.70 acres of adjacent lands located between the boat harbor and Queen Kaahumanu highway.
The purpose of this Act is to establish the Honokohau marina development district.
SECTION 2. Chapter 206E, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
“PART . HONOKOHAU MARINA DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
§206E- Definitions. As used in this part:
“District” means the Honokohau marina development district.
“Fund” means the Honokohau marina development revolving fund.
§206E- District established; boundaries.
(a) The Honokohau marina development district is hereby established. The district shall include that area within the boundaries described as follows: the southern boundary beginning at the southern property line of tax map key number 3-7-4-008:071 and running east to tax map key 3-7-4-008:072, continuing on tax map key 3-7-4-008:003 and bordering the unpaved and paved Kealakehe parkway to the Queen Kaahumanu highway. The northern boundary beginning at the northern property line of tax map key number 3-7-4-008:041 on a line that extends to the Queen Kaahumanu highway, tax map key numbers 3-7-4-008:003 (state land), 3-7-4-008:041, :071 (state land under the authority of the department of land and natural resources), and 3-7-4-008: 040, :042, :046, :050 and :075 (owned by the State but leased to various entities).
(b) The authority shall serve as the local redevelopment authority of the district to facilitate appropriate ocean activities, education, and natural and cultural resource education and management of the Honokohau marina development district. Management shall be in accordance with the general plan for the county of Hawaii, the Kona community development plan, watershed plans, and existing law. In addition to any other of its duties under this chapter, the authority shall:
- (1) Consult with the following persons and entities
- (A) Kaloko-National Park;
- (B) Kona Community Development Plan Action Committee;
- (C) Hawaii Fishing and Boating Association; and
- (D) Mayor and council of the county of Hawaii,
to implement activities related to and supportive of all forms of ocean recreation activities, cultural practices, and marine natural resource education and management;
(2) Assist land users to manage their properties and implement activities related to and supportive of cultural practices, Kaloko–Honokohau National Park, education, and natural resource education and management;
(3) Work with federal, state, county, and other agencies to ensure that infrastructural support is provided for the district;
(4) Develop the infrastructure necessary to support the implementation of the Kona community development plan in the Honokohau marina development district; and
(5) Provide, to the extent feasible, maximum opportunity for the restoration and implementation of sustainable, culturally appropriate, biologically responsible, and economically beneficial enterprise.
§206E- Authority; additional members for the Honokohau marina development district. For the purposes of implementing this part, five additional voting members shall be appointed to the authority by the governor pursuant to section 26-34 to represent the district. The five members shall be considered in determining quorum and majority only on issues relating to the district and may vote only on issues related to the district. The five members shall be representatives from the categories of marine users as follows:
- (1) Charter boat business owners;
- (2) Commercial fishers;
- (3) Tour boat or other marine business operators;
- (4) Residential slip lessees; and
- (5) Recreational boaters and other marina users.
§206E- Honokohau marina development district; policies to guide development. The following general policies to guide development shall govern the authority’s actions in the district:
(1) Development shall be in accordance with the Kona community development plan and the county of Hawaii general plan, except as it conflicts with the state constitution, state and county law, and all applicable federal laws;
(2) With the approval of the governor, and in accordance with law, the authority, upon concurrence of a majority of its voting members, may modify and make changes to the Honokohau marina development district master plan to respond to changing conditions; provided that prior to amending the Honokohau marina development district master plan, the authority shall conduct at least two public meetings pursuant to chapter 92 to inform the public of the proposed changes, to receive public input, and to incorporate public input into the plan;
(3) The authority shall provide, to the extent feasible, maximum opportunity for the restoration and implementation of sustainable, culturally appropriate, and biologically responsible ocean recreation;
(4) The authority may engage in planning, design, and construction activities within and outside the district; provided that activities outside the district shall relate to infrastructural development within the district, area-wide drainage improvements, sediment transport mitigation, sewer line extensions to replace septic tanks and to service all area businesses, roadway realignments and improvements, and other activities the authority deems necessary to carry out the development or redevelopment of the district. Studies or coordinating activities may be undertaken by the authority in conjunction with the appropriate federal, state, and county agencies to address infrastructure systems, natural resource systems, and other activities;
(5) Planning, re-planning, rehabilitation, development, redevelopment, and other preparations for the restoration of natural resources, cultural practices, and educational activities may be pursued;
(6) Hawaiian archaeological, historic, and cultural sites shall be preserved and protected to the extent feasible while allowing for continued use of the property for cultural activities, education, economic pursuits, and natural resource restoration;
(7) Endangered species of flora and fauna, in the water and on the land, shall be preserved and protected to the extent feasible and acceptable by federal law;
(8) All activities shall be undertaken in compliance with federal water quality standards in the harbor and the surrounding areas to protect the reefs and fishing;
(9) Land use and redevelopment activities within the district shall be coordinated with and complement, to the extent possible, existing state and county policies, plans, and programs affecting the district; and
(10) Public facilities within the district shall be planned, located, and developed to support the redevelopment policies established by this part for the district, the master plan approved by the governor, and rules adopted pursuant to this chapter.
§206E- Honokohau marina development revolving fund.
(a) There is established in the state treasury the Honokohau marina development revolving fund, into which shall be deposited:
- (1) All revenues, income, and receipts of the authority for the district, notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, including section 206E-16;
- (2) Moneys directed, allocated, or disbursed to the district from government agencies or private individuals or organizations, including grants, gifts, awards, donations, and assessments of landowners for costs to administer and operate the district; and
- (3) Moneys appropriated to the fund by the legislature.
(b) Moneys in the fund shall be used only for the purposes of this part.
(c) Investment earnings credited to the assets of the fund shall become part of the fund.
§206E- Rules; adoption. The authority shall adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to carry out the purposes of this part.”
SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
The reaction to this bill was mixed.
There were numerous emailed testimonials in support of the effort, and many followed a form, the contents of which followed this basic structure:
I am in favor of HB 2398 because the construction of Honokohau Harbor has never been completed and we need to pursue a new form of management so that the harbor facilities can better serve as:
1) the gateway for Kona’s world class sportfishing, diving and marine mammal watching industries;
2) the primary access point for West Hawaii’s recreational and commercial fishing, paddling and ocean recreation community;
3) an enhanced economic generator for the community;
4) an adequatehome to West Hawaii’s vessel maintenance, outfitting and repair businesses;
5) an attractive place for residents and visitors to access the ocean.
Honokohau is currently in worse condition than many third world marinas, and has long been an embarrassment to West Hawaii’s marine community. HB 2398 establishes a new form of management that will allow Honokohau to reach its potential, both physically and economically, and better serve our visitors, the West Hawaii community and the people of Hawaii.
However, various government entities balked at the proposal, like the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, which was not included as a consulted party in the legislation, according to the Chairman Alapaki Nahale-a.
“DHHL’s inventory includes 200 acres at Honokohau that are designated under project district zoning. We have completed an extensive environmental impact statement for our 200 acres, as well as the potential expansion of the marina to accommodate more slips. As one of the major landowners of property •at Honokohau, DHHL strongly believes it, along with other landowners like the Department of Land and Natural Resources CDLNR) , should be a consulted party listed on page 3, line 17. The success of a harbor and marina facility is contingent upon the close coordination between the to—be—established authority and DHHL and DLNR for the use of those parcels respectively owned by these two departments”
Other community groups were not pleased with the bill.
Kat Brady, Assistant Executive Director of Life of the Land, submitted this late testimony:
Life of the Land is in STRONG OPPOSITION to this measure. One of the basic tenets of our work is a deep and abiding respect for the culture and the people of this land. We have been shoulder to shoulder with the Hawaiians in struggles to protect sacred sites for decades. How can anything be pono if the there is no informed consent of the people?
We remember working to restore the fishtrap at Honokohau in 1995. This was before the Pai ~Ohana were evicted from theft ancestral lands so this precious place could be designated and ‘preserved’ as a National Park. The hewa caused by DLNR and law enforcement who came to arrest the family and their supporters was another dark day for the Hawaiian people. The ohana gave life to that aina as they continued the practices of theft ancestors.
In our humble opinion, what outsiders don’t seem to understand is that the Hawaiian culture is alive and being practiced every day; it is not something to be ‘preserved’ in a plaque.
The harbor abuts the designated Kaloko–Honokohau National Historical Park, which is described as a place “to provide a center for the preservation, interpretation, and perpetuation of traditional native Hawaiian activities and culture, and to demonstrate historic land use patterns as well as to provide a needed resource to the education, enjoyment, and appreciation of such traditional native Hawaiian activities and culture by local residents and visitors.”
How ironic is that? The very people with ancestral claims to this sacred place who were preserving and perpetuating their culture daily were evicted from their land in order to ‘preserve’ it for the education and appreciation of local residents and visitors? Something is very wrong here.
The The Kuakini Hawaiian Civic Club of Kona and the Kona Hawaiian Civic Club also opposed the measure.
Kaloko–Honokohau National Historical Park was also wary. “As you are well aware,” submitted the Kathy Billings, park Superintendent, “development of coastal lands has irreversible and far-reaching consequences. The National Park Service requests that you carefully review the need for designating this area as a development district. Preservation of coastal open space and cultural landscape will benefit the quality of life in the Kona community, Native Hawaiian values and traditional and customary practices, and nationally significant natural and cultural resources.”
Then at the last moment, the bill was amended.
As the Sierra Club noted in a post legislature media release:
HB 2398, amends and assigns land, such as Aloha Stadium Lands, to the highly controversial Public Lands Development Corporation law passed last year. Critics were particular upset on how these amendments were introduced into the bill by Senator Dela Cruz without any public input. The measure originally addressed the Honokohau harbor. Only after the bill moved into its last committee — and after all public testimony was received — was it amended to address the public lands development corporation. Groups such as the Sierra Club and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs sharply criticized the behind-the-scenes shanadigans.
“Actions like these are why the public dislikes politics,” said Harris. “Proposed laws are supposed to be debated in a transparent fashion, not snuck in at the last minute.”
The new bill is described as such on the state legislature website:
Transfers development rights of certain lands under the division of boating and ocean recreation and land division to the public land development corporation. Exempts certain lands from the definition of public land under chapter 171, HRS, but requires legislative approval for the sale or gift of those lands. Creates the stadium facilities special fund into which shall be deposited a portion of the proceeds generated by the PLDC on Aloha stadium lands and facilities. Allows the PLDC to contract with state and county agencies for lease management services of PLDC-controlled land. Clarifies the definition of development rights. (SD1)
From the final committee report:
Honorable Shan S. Tsutsui
President of the Senate
Twenty-Sixth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2012
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Water, Land, and Housing and Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 2398, H.D. 2, entitled:
“A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO LAND USE,”
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish the Honokohau Marina Development District on the island of Hawaii under the Hawaii Community Development Authority.
Your Committees received testimony in opposition from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Kona Hawaiian Civic Club, Makani Hou O Kaloko–Honokohau, and two individuals. Your Committees received comments from the Office of the Attorney General.
Your Committees find that the Public Land Development Corporation was recently created as an agency to develop public lands into suitable recreational and leisure centers for residents and tourists. Accordingly, certain parcels of land held by other state agencies can benefit from being transferred to and developed by the Public Land Development Corporation.
Your Committees recognize the Aloha Stadium as a preferred venue for major entertainment and recreational events. Due to its central location, opportunities exist to strengthen the stadium and its surrounding properties to enable the stadium to become a self-sustaining premier venue. It is your Committees’ intent to create a source of funding to assist the stadium in pursuing these opportunities.
Therefore, your Committees have amended this measure by deleting its contents and replacing the contents with language that:
(1) Transfers density rights of the properties located at tax map keys (3)7-4-08:03, (3)7-4-08:41, and (3)7-4-08:71 to the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC);
(2) Excludes lands set aside by the Governor, leased to the PLDC by any state agency, or to which the PLDC holds title from the definition of public lands under chapter 171, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
(3) Requires prior legislative approval for the sale or gift of land set aside by the Governor or to which the PLDC holds title;
(4) Creates the stadium facilities special fund into which shall be deposited a portion of the proceeds generated by the PLDC from Aloha Stadium lands and facilities;
(5) Amends the definition of development rights under chapter 171C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to include all rights related to the development of a property;
(6) Allows the PLDC to contract with state or county agencies for lease management services of PLDC-controlled land;
(7) Excludes funds to be deposited in the stadium facilities special fund from the funds to be credited to the Hawaii public land development revolving fund; and
(8) Makes technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Water, Land, and Housing and Ways and Means that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2398, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2398, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.
Since the video above was filmed, Phase I improvements at Honokohau started on December 5, 2011.
Meanwhile, the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Hawaii Fishing & Boating Association will be held on May 9, 2012, at 5 P. M. at the Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club at Honokohau Harbor.
Everyone is welcome to attend, according to a media release sent out by the organization, and become members of the Association and help to improve management of Honokohau Harbor and harbors in general as well as improve the regulatory process that accompanies a state-owned facility.