WAILUKU, Hawaii – Councilmember Don Guzman’s bill to allow for the creation of agricultural conservation lots in Maui County will be considered in committee on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 1:30 p.m., he announced today.
The council’s Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee, which is chaired by Guzman, will decide whether to recommend adoption of a resolution to refer the bill to the planning commissions for the review required by the Maui County Charter for land use ordinances. The bill would amend the agricultural zoning ordinance to allow one-acre lots – deviating from the normal two-acre minimum – for subdivisions that create an agricultural conservation lot dedicated to agricultural uses in perpetuity.
“This proposal is a true win-win situation for landowners, developers, farmers, county resources and environmental protection initiatives,” Guzman said. “It encourages better land and infrastructure management, which will help maintain Maui County’s pristine agricultural landscape.”
Under current law, a 750-acre agricultural parcel must be divided into 14 two-acre lots, 12 15-acre lots, seven 25-acre lots, three 40-acre lots and one 247-acre lot. This presents profitability challenges to developers and to large-scale farmers who need vast land space for operations, Guzman said.
Guzman said his bill would allow the same 750-acre lot to be divided into a cluster of 36 contiguous one-acre lots and one large 714-acre parcel dedicated as an “agricultural conservation lot” created through a conservation easement or a unilateral agreement filed by the landowner. Guzman said the clustered lots would be efficient and cost-effective, as the government could concentrate infrastructure development, including roads, water and wastewater, to just one section of the property.
According to the bill, agricultural conservation lots would be prohibited from changes in zoning and consolidation, and would be subject to agricultural district standards.
“Ag-zoned lands are often converted to accommodate urban sprawl, and community plans are compromised,” Guzman said. “The bill would maintain our open spaces and would boost production capacity, demonstrating how important agriculture is to our community.”
Testimony may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing EAR-50.
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