Wednesday, August 22, 2007

General Plan Updates

Maui County and Hawaii County are actively working their way through substantive changes to their general and development plans (a.k.a., community plans).

In general, Hawaii law requires consistency between land use entitlements (e.g., zoning and SMA permits) and county plans which are adopted by ordinance. Plan updates is an unwieldy, consensus-based community-wide process, which could result in inconsistencies between existing zoning and use district maps adopted under the plan. Landowners must be vigilant to ensure that their presently zoned property is not suddenly placed in inconsistent districts under the new plan. In general, if development rights have not vested or a development agreement was not entered into with the county, a subsequent community plan amendment will be required before development can begin. Depending on the county, plan amendments are either not allowed for a term of years and/or is a long administrative and legislative process that triggers environmental review.

Maui County is presently updating its general plan. More specific island and community plans will be based upon the general plan update. Information is available at the county’s website at

Hawaii County updated their general plan in 2005. However, unlike other counties, Hawaii County never adopted regional community development plans (“CDP”). Hawaii County is in the process of adopting CPDs for each of its nine districts. More information is available at

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