Hawaii repeals Public Land Development Corporation

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April 14, 2013

Hawaii

By Jennifer Springer

HONOLULU, Hawaii: The repeal of the Public Land Development Corporation cleared the final hurdle in the Legislature on April 11, 2013.[1] House Bill 1133 will now head to Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s desk, who has indicated that he won’t oppose the legislation.[1]

The Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC) was officially formed after the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1555, which was signed into law as Act 55 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on May 20, 2011.[2] The bill passed the state Senate by a 23-1 vote, with one senator excused.[2] Les Ihara was the sole senator who voted against the bill. The state House passed the bill by a 40-9 margin, with two members excused.[3]

The PLDC was created to develop state lands in public-private partnerships, but the agency has stoked heated opposition from environmentalists and other advocates who objected to the PLDC's broad exemptions from land use and county zoning laws and construction standards.[4][3]

State House lawmakers voted to accept Senate amendments to the bill.[1] The two chambers were hung up on what to do with PLDC personnel.[1] The Senate deleted a provision that called for transferring the employees to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.[1]

The national organization, Sierra Club, director Robert Harris released a statement regarding the dissolution of the agency saying, "With this vote, the Hawaii legislature took a strong step towards restoring public trust and transparency in our governmental process. People deserve to have a meaningful voice in what happens to the special places in their community. Back-room deals, political cronyism, and rampant development should not be a part of Hawaii's future."[5]

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