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SB3104 SD2 does a lot of things, but there are 2 things that should concern every person who loves and pays taxes in Hawai'i:
1. It would allow for the sale of Hawai'i's public lands for up to 99 years, for "affordable" housing projects that may be priced so high as to be unaffordable to over 70% of state residents.
2. It would severely limit the ability of native Hawaiians or a re-established Hawaiian Governing Entity to negotiate claims to leased "ceded" lands, which many consider to be "stolen" from the Hawaiian Kingdom, and which the state constitution considers to be held for the benefit of "native Hawaiians and the public."
Also, neighbor islands residents especially should pay attention to the Land Use Commission provisions of this measure. The current draft of SB3104 (and a few other bills for that matter) would make it easier to expand urban areas into agricultural and rural lands, by further limiting the Land Use Commission's role in taking public testimony and placing conditions on the proposed urbanization of these lands. Expansions of the urban district of up to 25 acres per development will no longer require Land Use Commission oversight for most agricultural and rural lands.
Finally, while this measure is pitched as an affordable housing silver bullet, almost none of its provisions actually address the biggest obstacle to housing development, at least on O'ahu where the demand is the highest: sewage. Doodoo water. Between residents, kōlea birds, stationed military, and tourists, there's too much human waste and not enough pipes and treatment facilities to keep it from turning our nearshore waters into a staph infection risk zone. The Governor, an engineer, has himself said something to the effect that "the crumbling sewage system is the main contributor to Hawaii's [sic] housing development problem." Other much touted, photo-op worthy affordable housing initiatives have failed to hit their marks because of sewer capacity issues and will continue to do so unless these issues are addressed.
Next stop for this bill is Committee referrals and then a likely single (1) public hearing, likely very soon. There may be only 1 chance for the public to weigh in on this measure.
Want to help? Share this post or download a meme here (or make your own) to help bring more awareness to this bill. Or contact one of the many groups engaged on this bill to pitch in with their strategies.
Civilbeat.com has a couple articles on the discussion-worthy amendments made to the measure in the Senate Housing Committee, and on the removal of those same amendments by Senate Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz.
The testimonies on the bill status page, right-hand side also provide various perspectives on the bill as well.
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