Stopping Unwanted DevelopmentStopping Unwanted Development

Developers sometimes have plans for land which are at odds with local communities.  Black Sands Beach Llc's plan for Punaluu is an excellent example of this.  The developer's vision for the property is at odds with what the public wants.  At the same time, the developer owns the property and has the right to develop it within the limitations of its zoning.

Hawaii County's existing planning processes aren't designed to resolve this type of conflict.  Neighbors opposed to projects are forced to advocate for their position by bringing up environmental concerns, infrastructure concerns, neighborhood character and the archeological record.  If none of these issues are relevant, the developer is permitted to build.

At the same time, developers are put in the impossible situation of trying to appease neighbors who are making everchanging and specious demands.  In many cases the real reason neighbors are bringing these issues up is simply: they don't want the development built.

The Core '24 Approach to Stopping Unwanted Development

The Unwanted Development process that Core '24 is proposing is designed to fairly and permanently end these types of debates.  How?  By giving the public a defined process for stopping unwanted development.  Members of the public who are opposed to a project will no longer be forced to oppose it within the framework of planning.  Instead, they will be able to simply say "we don't want that here" and work with their neighbors to advocate for Hawaii County to intervene.

From the developer's standpoint, the process reduces risk while providing regulatory clarity.  Instead of being forced to jump through a series of ever-changing hoops, developers who run into opposition will have a clear path to either develop their project, or receive just compensation for their property when it is put into conservancy.

How It Works

When developers propose a project that requires public notice, members of the public will have a defined window to initiate an Unwanted Development challenge.  Upon receiving sufficient signatures to start the challenge, Hawaii County will determine the fair market value of the property in question and create a non-contiguous special tax district.

The purpose of the non-contiguous special tax district is to generate the revenue necessary to purchase the property from the developer at its fair market price.  Hawaii County will do so using its bonding authority, but the bonds will be paid back exclusively from the non-contiguous special tax district.

Participation in the non-contiguous special tax district will be voluntary.  Any property owner in Hawaii County will be permitted to join the special tax district whether they are adjacent to the planned development or on the other side of the island.  Residents who do not own real property will be given an opportunity to participate by allocating their proportional share of the 2024 Permit Amnesty Fund.

Once the window to join the special tax district closes, Hawaii County will calculate how much each parcel must be assessed in order to pay back the bond.  

Property owners will be informed of the assessment amount and will vote on whether or not to continue. 

If property owners and residents choose to continue, Hawaii County will purchase the property and put it into conservancy.  If property owners choose not to continue, the developer will have the right to begin construction.

The benefit of this approach is that the additional funds for purchasing the property are provided by the residents who care enough about stopping the development to reach into their own pocket.  If the efforts are successful developers will be made financially whole, if not, the developer will be allowed to start construction.