Sunday, May 11, 2008

2008 Legislative Session Round Up

Hawaii's 24th Legislative session adjourned on May 1, 2008. The Governor has until July 8 to sign, veto or allow the measures to become law without her signature. The following are lists of bills and acts related to land use and administrative processes.

As of May 11, 2008, bills that became law include:
  • Act 12, SB2428, exempts state highway projects from county subdivision ordinances.
  • Act 14, HB3325 HD2, adds time share plans to the list of offers or dispositions of an interest in land that are exempt from the Uniform Land Sales Practices Act.
  • Act 20, SB3105 SD1, allows a board to close a meeting to the public if (i) it determines that it is necessary to meet at a location that is dangerous to health or safety, or if a board determines that it is necessary to conduct an on-site inspection of a location that is related to the board's business at which public attendance is not practicable, and (ii) the director of the office of information practices concurs.
  • Act 26, HB2523 , amends the land use commission's decision-making criteria to include county general plans and all related community, development, or community development plans when determining whether to grant or deny a petition for state district boundary amendment. General plans are already considered by the state land use commission. This Act simply appears to reify that practice.
  • Act 31, HB2502 HD2, amends HRS Section 205-2 to allow the use of solar energy facilities on lands classified by the state as Agricultural, but only where the soil is classified by the land study bureau's detailed land classification as overall (master) productivity rating class D or E.
  • Act 56, SB2900 SD1 HD1, doesn't solve the underlying problem of counties refusing to accept public highways not belonging to the state as would proposed House Bill HB 3415; rather instead, this Act gives counties a way around HRS § 264-1 (amended by Act 12, supra, provides that all public highways that don't belong to the state belong to the county), by allowing the county to maintain public highway's not belonging to the state without the presumption that the county owns a particular street, road, or highway.

Bills that passed the legislature, but are still with the governor for consideration include:

  • HB2293 HD1 SD2 CD2, authorizes the Agribusiness Development Corporation to acquire agricultural lands vis-a-vis a bill enacted into law; allows acquisition agricultural lands owned by the Galbraith Estate.
  • HB2450 HD1 SD2 CD1, requires the land use commission to include certain conditions in the decision granting approval of a district boundary amendment where adjacent lands are in the agricultural district, to wit (i) a prohibition on any action that would interfere with or restrain farming operations, and (ii) notification to future purchasers of the reclassified land that that farming operations and practices on adjacent land in the agricultural district are protected under Hawaii's Right to Farm Act.
  • HB2730 HD1 SD1 CD1, creates a new section under Hawaii's Sunshine Law that carves out exceptions for neighborhood boards. In particular, members are allowed to meet and attend meetings outside a publicly noticed meeting so long as it is less than a quorum of its members and no commitment is made relating to a vote.
  • HB2810 HD1 SD1 CD1, allows the public utilities commission to provide preferential rates for potable water used for agricultural activities.
  • SB644 SD3 HD3 CD1, mandates that on or after January 1, 2010, no building permit shall be issued for a single-family dwelling that does not include a solar water heater system, and it repeals the solar energy tax credit by 2010.
  • SB2170 SD1 HD1 CD1, provides a tax credit for landowners who donate land in perpetuity or completes a bargain sale in perpetuity to the State or public or private conservation agency that fulfills a conservation or preservation purpose.
  • SB2293 SD1 HD1 CD1, exempts from zoning, new multi-family for-sale housing condominium developments of seventy-five units or more per acre on privately owned lands and privately financed, under HRS Chapter 201H.
  • SB2646 SD2 HD2 CD1, among other things, the Act allows landowners whose agricultural lands are designated as important agricultural lands ("IAL") to construct farm dwellings and employee housing for farmers, employees, and their immediate family members on the IAL.

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