State House takes first step to address Public Land Development Corp.
HONOLULU – The Hawaii House Committee on Water and Land has scheduled a hearing on Saturday, Feb. 9, regarding the abolishment of the Public Land Development Corporation or alternatives to achieve the original intent to generate revenue from public land.
In response to public frustration over the manner in which the Public Lands Development Corporation was created, how its rules were promulgated, the broad powers granted to the organization and the lack of public input and participation in that process, the House committee will hear bills that will either repeal the PLDC altogether, amend it, or start from scratch and create a new agency that will provide far greater community input and oversight.
“As the chair of Water and Land, I am approaching the issue from the standpoint of repeal,” said Rep. Cindy Evans (District 7, North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala).
“The PLDC cannot exist as is; something has to change. However, I am open to options, and the most compelling argument will move forward.”
Rep. Nicole Lowen (District 6, Kailua-Kona), vice chair of the Committee on Water and Land, stated, “My community has expressed serious concerns about the PLDC, particularly about exemptions from planning, zoning and environmental laws. This legislation was passed with very little public oversight the first time around this time, the public deserves to have a voice in the political process.”
“The people I have spoken with on Maui who understand the implications of PLDC support a full repeal. While I recognize the need for increased DLNR (Department of Land & Natural Resources) revenue and improved public land efficiencies, we must achieve these goals without posing a threat of undermining public input or skirting environmental regulations,” said Rep. Kaniela Ing (District 11, South Maui).
“The people, especially on the Neighbor Islands, are saying ‘try again.’ We, as lawmakers, need to listen to them.”