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Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Supreme Court: Hoopili ‘Necessary for Urban Growth’
By Robert Thomas @ 3:44 PM :: 6096 Views :: Agriculture, Development, Land Use, Rail

HAWSCT: Land Use Comm'n Need Not Impose Moratorium Until After "Important Ag Lands" Process Is Complete

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation, December 22, 2015

Here's one in a land use case we've been following, both because it is a huge issue and because our partners Greg Kugle and Matt Evans represent the prevailing land owner. 

All Hawaii land users need to read this, a 4-1 decision (Justice McKenna writing for the majority, with Justice Pollack in in dissent) that involves the LUC, the "Important Agricultural Lands" process, and reclassification. We haven't yet read it in detail, but here's the holding:

This appeal involves a long-standing issue in this state: balancing agricultural and urban land uses.
Pursuant to Save Sunset Beach Coalition v. City & County of Honolulu, 102 Hawaii 465, 476, 78 P.3d 1, 12 (2003), Article XI, Section 3, standing alone, is not self-executing; rather, its mandate is carried out through the provisions of Part III. Therefore, the plain language of Article XI, Section 3 does not require the LUC to stay reclassification of agricultural land while the formal county-initiated IAL designation process runs its course. Pursuant to the policies underlying Part III, state and county government should consider the “compelling state interest in conserving the State’s agricultural land resource base assuring the long term availability of agricultural lands for agricultural use,” see HRS § 205-41 (Supp. 2005); however, the plain language of Part III contains no provision requiring a stay. Further, the constitutional history of Article XI, Section 3, as well as the legislative history of Part III, does not reveal an intent to require the LUC to delay reclassifying agricultural land pending formal designation of IALs. Second, reliable, probative, and substantial evidence supported the LUC’s finding that the reclassification of the land at issue in this case was consistent with the Hawaii State Plan, would not substantially impair agricultural production, and was necessary for urban growth. We therefore affirm the circuit court’s decision and order, which affirmed the LUC’s D&O.

For background, see this post.

More to come, once we digest this. In the meantime, congratulations to our colleagues Greg and Matt.

PDF: Sierra Club v. D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, LLC, No. SCAP-13-0002266 (Haw. Dec. 22, 2015)



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