HSCA requests review of the Special Permit process

From Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance

SPACE and Belly Acres are facing challenges to their special use
permits.  They are test cases for other groups wanting to do the
same.  Their success is vital for setting a precedent for others of
us to use this legal process, in order to use our Ag land for other
purposes such as gatherings and classes.

The Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance
is proposing that the County of Hawaii  review the Special Permit
process which community non profit groups have to undertake if they
want to legally provide facilities and programs for their own
community.

There are undoubtedly dozens of island wide groups of all sizes
serving their communities, but acting outside County or State
ordinances.  Many of them intentionally keep a very low profile and
most have their energy and successes stifled by the fear of official
retribution. This handicaps many sustainable community initiatives.

Neighborhoods providing non profit services for themselves benefits
everyone, especially taxpayers who are saved the costs of providing
these services.

While sustainable living and community development are both highly
valued at all levels of the County Administration on this island,
there is a reason that only two ‘sustainable community groups’  have
obtained Special Permits for their activities and one was recently
revoked by the Planning Department.  It is a lengthy and expensive
process at the moment.

Communities are vulnerable to complaints from neighbors, and assumed
guilty with no way to discuss or face our accusers. Big Island Weekly
is coming out with a story on the 26th on this topic of how the
complaint driven system affects us all.

HSCA is requesting to present proposals to remove the obstacles and
challenges that currently deter small community groups from applying
for County permits to operate legally at the Windward Planning
Commission Meeting on May 3rd in Hilo.

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