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December Program Planning Meeting
President's Message (Pearl Johnson)
League Opposes Koa Ridge Proposal (Pearl Johnson)
National Issues Forum on Gambling
Outrigger's Beach Walk
Bringing Out the Voters in 2002 (Nikki Love)
Welcome New Members

League Opposes Koa Ridge Proposal

(Our testimony before the State Land Use Commission October 18, 2001)

If the Land Use Commission is to abide by the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, it must reject the petition to convert agricultural land to urban use. Section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution states: "The State shall conserve and protect agricultural lands... and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands. ...Lands identified by the State as important agricultural lands needed to fulfill the purposes above shall not be reclassified by the State or rezoned ... without meeting the standards and criteria established by the legislature and approved by a two-thirds vote of the body responsible for the reclassification or rezoning action."

The fact that such standards have not been set does not permit the Land Use Commission to allow this loss of agricultural land. By any definition of important agricultural lands, former pineapple land is important agricultural land. Deep topsoil and a gentle gradient are not easy to come by in these volcanic islands.

The Commission must find very good reasons NOT to protect ag land. The Commission only needs to abide by the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to protect ag land and reject this petition.

The medical facility at Koa Ridge has been advanced as an urgent reason to grant the change. However, the petitioner now owns over 100 acres already zoned "public facilities" just across the freeway from the proposed location. Wahiawa Hospital says its need for a new facility is urgent. Its 53 acres would fit nicely in that public facilities parcel which the petitioner is in the process of changing to residential.

Many of the other facilities which are hoped to fill the 200 acre medical facility may never come to pass. The UH Medical School, a key component of the project, may wind up in Kaka'ako. Another component of this project is health care units set up by some existing hospitals. At least three of these hospitals were surprised to hear their names mentioned in the proposal.

The automatic approval provision passed in 1998 hangs like a sword over our ag lands. If the Land Use Commission does not decide by June 2002, the project is automatically approved and Hawaii will lose 1250 acres of prime agricultural land. As a farmer said, "The last crop which a farm grows is houses." After that no other crops can be grown.

The Land Use Commission has a Constitutional mandate to protect important agricultural land. It cannot allow the loss of these important agricultural lands.

Pearl Johnson

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