Presentation to the American Planning Association-Hawaii Chapter, January 9, 2013, by Jesse K. Souki, Director, State of Hawaii Office of Planning. NOTE: DOWNLOAD SLIDES TO VIEW TRANSITIONS.
Executive Summary: The purpose and intent of the planning/land use laws of Hawaii are timeless, but the systems that implement these laws may need to change. On the one hand, the state is doing well in some areas, but on the other hand, people (e.g., developers, environmentalists, native Hawaiians, communities) seem to be unhappy with how the system works.
We should consider changing/modernizing the system to better achieve the original purpose and intent of the statewide planning/land use laws. This means calling the regulators, the regulated, and representatives of the various public interests to the table to rethink how we plan and develop in Hawaii. The problem needs to be addressed holistically from top to bottom. The occasional tweak of the land use law here and there is not productive, judging from recent outcomes. The law is a complex tapestry, picking at the threads can have unintended consequences for all involved. The inquiry must be disciplined and balance the need for both economic development and stewardship.
If the Office of Planning is to take a central role in this process, it needs to be properly funded. Currently the office leverages large amounts of federal funding for its work to supplement a historic disinvestment by the legislature and previous administrations.