Kona Coffee Lands

Identifies Kona coffee region as unique agricultural lands. 

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           1493
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that in 1978, the people
 2 of Hawaii amended the state constitution to require the State to
 3 "conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified
 4 agriculture, increase self-sufficiency, and assure the
 5 availability of agriculturally suitable lands".
 6      The legislature further finds that there are agricultural
 7 lands not protected under the present ALISH system of
 8 identification which refers only to "important agricultural
 9 lands" with specific criteria.  The constitution does not exclude
10 "unique" agricultural lands.  The legislature finds it necessary
11 to correct the present identification system to include "unique"
12 agricultural lands.
13      The legislature recognizes that Kona lands are primarily
14                             -
15 composed of pahoehoe and `a` a lava with little or no soil.  As a
16 result, these lands have a very low rating and very little
17 protection under the State's current land classification system
18 even though the area's composition provides the excellent
19 drainage needed for tree crops.
20      The "Kona Coffee Belt" is world-renowned for its production

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                                     S.B. NO.           1493

 1 of high quality coffee.  Throughout history, the Kona region has
 2 provided exceptional conditions for additional tree crops such as
 3 macadamia nuts and avocado as well as an increasing variety of
 4 diversified crops which flourish on the steep slopes, rocky soil,
 5 and varieties of climatic temperatures.  These crops provide
 6 substantial income to the state economy.  In addition, the
 7 special beauty and irreplaceable, historic agricultural identity
 8 and charm has developed this "Kona Coffee Belt" into an area of
 9 major interest to visitors coming to the big island, which in
10 turn provides substantial income to the local community.
11      The legislature further finds there is a need to provide a
12 protective zone for makai lands in the Kona region due to the
13 area's steep upper slopes and high rainfall which occurs in these
14 upper slopes.  It is recognized that where development has
15 occurred in these mauka slopes, there have been serious floods
16 and runoff over highways from excessive water which have not been
17 contained by drywells.  Local residents have expressed fear of
18 resulting flood waters entering their homes and posing a risk to
19 their property and lives, based on more developments taking place
20 on mauka agricultural lands.
21      The purpose of this Act is to fulfill the mandate of article
22 XI, section 3, of the state constitution by amending the land use
23 law to identify and protect the Kona coffee region as "unique"

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                                     S.B. NO.           1493

 1 agricultural lands which are important to the State.
 2      SECTION 2.  Chapter 205, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 3 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
 4 read as follows:
 5      "205-    Kona coffee lands; uniqueness.  Kona coffee lands
 6 currently in the Kona Coffee Belt are designated as "unique"
 7 important agricultural lands to the State.  These lands are
 8 located in the North and South Kona districts of Hawaii county
 9 and are situated between elevations of five hundred and two
10 thousand five hundred feet, extending between and immediately
11 adjacent to Palani and Pu'uhonua roads in the North and South
12 Kona districts."
13      SECTION 3.  New statutory material is underscored.
14      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
16                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________