Category Archives: Government Codes & Legislation

Working with local, state and federal government to help shape laws that support sustainable community in Hawaii and around the world.

New Housing Type

From HSCA Minutes: Planning Dept proposal of Type 2 housing

For county council:

We are looking into the Planning Dept proposal of type 2 housing, to allow for recycled building materials as well as naturally renewable building materials such as bamboo and Strawberry Guava that are excellent for construction but are currently not “legal” building materials.    where “the owner can decide what kinds of materials to use to build the home”

Building department  tried create a provision to use indigenous building materials, but it never went anywhere… what happened?


Special Permits

Minutes 10/22/2010 Special Permits

Special Permits are applied for to the planning department.  You ask for what you want, then when you get permission you have to deal with all the other county departments, like health, building, police, etc.  That is where we really need to have policy changes.

Do all kinds of non-ag activities need Special Permits? Are non-ag activities covered by existing legislation or do we need to do more? Cultural activities, workshops, education, gallery, etc.

Scott recommends:  Most any activity can be proposed in a special permit.  We can make special permit applications easier by learning to do them ourselves rather than pay someone else to help us. We should be all working together to make the permits in a pattern and establish precedents.


County Committee: Sustainable Action

From Minutes: Committee in charge of Sustainable Action, excerpts from  code


We discovered in the HI county code that there should be a committee in charge of Sustainable Action, but it does not yet exist.   This is an ordinance that already exists, so could be a really great way for us to work with the government.   If we can get someone on this committee, Mojo may be interested.   We can encourage this committee to be created.  see below for the text of the code.

Graham invited us read Article 8 (pages 2-11,12,13) in the County Code:

Article 8. Department of Research and Development.*

Section 2-36. Purpose.

It is the purpose of this article to provide the necessary leadership to anchor the department of research

and development’s planning, policies, goals and actions in sustainable economic, societal and environmental

practices. The adoption and employment of sustainable practices as a framework for business as usual through

systematic change processes which shall result in concrete outcomes, changes in multiple functions or portions

of the system, and institutionalization of these changes on an on-going basis to address sustainable agriculture;

alternative energy, fuel and waste management; ecological education, business development, green housing

and buildings; and protection of biodiversity.

(2007, Ord. No. 07-161, sec. 1.) 2-36

Section 2-37. Sustainability Action Committee.

(a) There shall be designated within the department of research and development a sustainability action

committee, which shall sit in an advisory capacity to the director of the department on matters that

support a sustainable economy, society and environment and are within the department’s purview to

include energy, business development, agriculture, tourism, film, community development, and other

related subjects. The department shall provide support service to the committee.

(b) Membership and term. The committee shall be composed of five members, who shall be appointed by

the mayor and confirmed by the council. Any member of the committee may be removed upon

recommendation of the mayor and the approval of the council. Members shall serve a term of five years.

However, for the initial appointment of members, one member shall be appointed for a term of one year,

one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, one for a term of four years and one for a term

of five years. In addition to the five members, the director or the director’s designee will serve as an

ex-officio member of the committee.

*Editor’s Note: Article 8 was repealed in its entirety and replaced by Ordinance 07-161.

(c) The members shall be broadly representative of the County and shall be selected on the basis of their

knowledge, expertise, proven innovative and technical skills and ability to network and source cutting

edge technologies, with interests in one or more of the following areas: agriculture, business, energy,

tourism, community, economics, planning, architectural design, community facilitation and Hawaiian


(d) No member shall be eligible for a second appointment to the committee prior to the expiration of two

years, provided that members appointed for a term of one year or two years shall be eligible to succeed

themselves for an additional term.

(e) No member whose term has expired shall continue to serve on the commission, except that if no

successor has been appointed and confirmed, the member shall continue to serve for ninety days or until a

successor is appointed and confirmed, whichever comes first.

(f) Any vacancy occurring in the committee shall be filled for the unexpired term.

(g) Not more than a bare majority of the members shall belong to the same political party.

(h) Members shall receive no compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the

performance of their duties. Necessary expenses maybe paid in advance as per diem allowance pursuant

to chapter 2, article 16 of the Hawai’i County Code.

(i) A chairperson shall be elected from its membership annually.

(j) The affirmative vote of a majority of those members present shall be necessary to make any action valid.

(k) The committee shall have the power to establish its rules of procedure necessary for the conduct of its

business, which rules shall contain the time and place of all regular meetings, and which shall specify that

a quorum shall be a majority of the members to which the committee is entitled.

(l) No person shall, by reason of occupation alone, be barred from serving as a member of this committee.

(m) The council shall act to confirm or reject any appointment made to the committee by the mayor within

forty-five days after receiving notice of the appointment from the mayor. If the council does not confirm

or reject any such appointment within forty-five days, the appointee shall be deemed to have been


(2007, Ord. No. 07-161, sec. 1.) 2-37

Section 2-37.1. Duties of the committee.

(a) The sustainability action committee shall make recommendations and support the department’s

integration of planning and implementation of sustainable principles in its work with communities,

businesses and other agencies.

(b) The sustainability action committee shall support and make recommendations to:

(1) Raise awareness of what the term sustainability represents and the guiding principles of


(2) Conduct environmental scans to assess current conditions as they relate to the guiding principles of


(3) Identify a vision for sustainability and recommend solutions; and

(4) Support the development of sustainability actions plans.

(c) The sustainability action committee shall support, monitor and comment on the department’s efforts to

effectuate sustainable planning, policies, programs, projects and operations.

(2007, Ord. No. 07-161, sec. 1.) 2-37.1

Section 2-37.2. Guidelines for committee recommendations.

(a) The sustainability action committee shall apply guiding principles of sustainability as a framework for

identification of issues, research and innovative actions. These principles shall include:

(1) Reduced dependence upon fossil fuels, extracted underground metals and minerals;

(2) Reduced dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in



2-13 SUPP. 5 (1-2008)

(3) Reduced dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems; and

(4) Meeting the hierarchy of human needs fairly and efficiently.

(b) The sustainability action committee shall employ a “systems approach” to identify upstream root causes

and outcomes and shall recommend appropriate research, planning and implementation initiatives;

outcome measures and indicators; engagements and partnerships as may be necessary to guide the

department to innovative and successful sustainable models that effectuate the purpose of this article.

(c) The sustainability action committee shall consider the recommendations provided in the general plan, community development plan ordinances, community visioning processes and other agencies’ planning documents. Additionally, the committee shall seek innovative solutions, programs and initiatives based

upon sustainable precepts of native Hawaiian culture and other local, national and international resources to advance the purpose of this article and seek the necessary technical and other support required for

implementation by the department, other agencies and the community. The committee shall encourage

and participate in the internal and external network opportunities at the local, state, national and

international levels.

(2007, Ord. No. 07-161, sec. 1.)


County only interprets the State Laws

Minutes 10/14/2010 County only interprets the State Laws

The county can’t help us in lobbying the state people, but they can work with the state laws after they are passed and will make zoning codes.  They can only interpret the laws they are given by the state.  The county planning department is waiting for some eco laws so they can work with them.   HI sustainable 2050 law is what we need to refer to, as we are trying to implement it.

Scott said to narrow down our definitions and what we want, so we can perhaps avoid going through the whole lawmaking system to change things.

The term eco village implies having an actually village.  If you use the words “testing area” or “experimental” that implies that sometime the test will be over.  Need tight definitions of what we want.

Refer to existing codes as examples a lot when dealing with the government.

We have to communicate with them and be honest.

The commissioners are the ones who make the laws, they are the ones we need to reach.


Hawai`i 2050 Sustainability Plan Clarification

Hawai`i 2050 Sustainability Plan Clarification

From minutes:…”HI sustainable 2050 law is what we need to refer to, as we are
trying to implement it.”
The “Hawai`i 2050 Sustainability Plan” is not a law or ordinance. It is a “plan” created by a task force appointed by state legislation related to review of the Hawai’i State Plan – specifically, to create some new “guidelines” for implementing previously existing legislation. From the original bill:
“The plan shall be prepared to define and implement state goals, objectives, policies, and priority guidelines using sections 226-3 to 226-27, Hawaii Revised Statutes, as guiding principles.”
Full original bill:
HRS 226 is the complete State Planning Act.
Alex Frost can probably give specifics on what if any legal “teeth” (force of law) the 2050 plan has, if any.
John S

Ag tourism laws, zoning exemptions

Agricultural tourism laws, zoning exemptions


Ag tourism laws: you can get an application from the planning department.  Requirements are: you need to be a farm that makes at least $10,000 per year in agricultural income, which can include any prepared food you sell.  You can’t make any more in tourism activities than you do in farm income, because your farming needs to be your main activities.

Exemptions to zoning laws as was done in New Mexico seem less likely to be passed, because they are too loose and vague.  Scott supports us clearly identifying what problems we are having, and seeing if we have any way to work with existing laws to do what we want to do.  If we can work with existing laws, as in special use permits, then we do not need a new law.

We may want an amendment to existing laws, to allow for Multi purpose zoning areas in which we can do sustainable farming and community.

Call them Sustainable Multi Use Zones: Use of 50% or more of locally sourced, renewable resources in farming, building and recycling.