HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE BUILDING CODE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that populations are increasing while resources are decreasing. The result is a need for more sustainable and environmentally appropriate living. Sustainable and environmentally appropriate living is presently inhibited due to current zoning regulations, building codes, and infrastructure requirements that control and regulate conventional development. Some of the needed solutions for more sustainable development can only be revealed from outside the confines of our existing mechanisms.
In July of 2007, the New Mexico legislature passed a bill that greatly promotes sustainable living research and development. The Sustainable Development Test Site Act allows for counties throughout the state to "define a new category of rules" which will apply to approved sustainable development sites. Taos county, for example, has since started to look at how to formulate such rules. Approved sites would be able to conduct sustainable development research that might have otherwise violated ordinances that apply to other types of development. A similar bill is in position to be introduced in Colorado.
This Act will allow and encourage privately or otherwise funded sustainable projects within a county to research new low impact ways of living. This Act will create a doorway through the current limitations of traditional codes to support the development of more sustainable methods of living, allowing greater implementation of county and state sustainable living policies.
The purpose of this Act is to further the five principles of the Hawaii 2050 sustainability plan created by the Hawaii 2050 task force pursuant to Act 8, Special Session Laws of Hawaii 2005, which are integrated philosophies that express the sustainable future of Hawaii. These five principles reflect a deeply-held sense of where Hawaii should be headed and are as follows:
(1) Living sustainably is part of our daily practice in Hawaii;
(2) Our diversified and globally competitive economy enables us to meaningfully live, work, and play in Hawaii;
(3) Our natural resources are responsibly and respectfully used, replenished, and preserved for future generations;
(4) Our community is strong, healthy, vibrant, and nurturing and provides safety nets for those in need; and
(5) Our kanaka maoli and island cultures and values are thriving and perpetuated.
SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
SUSTAINABLE LIVING RESEARCH ACT
§ -1 Short title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Sustainable Living Research Act.
§ -2 Definitions. As used in this chapter:
"Permittee" means a person who holds a sustainable living research permit.
"Planning commission" means a county planning commission.
"Planning department" means a county planning department.
"Sustainable living" means a live-in environment composed of structures and systems that inherently produce utilities and life-support systems that conserve resources and may include:
(1) The provision of on-site energy needs via renewable resources;
(2) The provision of water needs while minimizing the withdrawals from ground water and surface water systems in accordance with county and state water law and the rules and policies of the county and state engineers;
(3) The provision of sewage treatment needs with minimal discharge;
(4) The reuse of materials discarded by modern society;
(5) The development of organic foods;
(6) The development of renewable fuel; and
(7) The development and testing of affordable and sustainable structures.
"Sustainable living research" means activities conducted at a sustainable living research site that test ideas, concepts, or inventions designed to lead ultimately to sustainable living.
"Sustainable living research permit" means a permit issued by the planning commission that designates an area as a sustainable living research site and specifies:
(1) The sustainable development research that can be conducted within the site by the permittee; and
(2) The county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits that are not applicable to the permittee and the research.
"Sustainable living research site" means an area that is:
(1) Greater than one acre in size; and
(2) Subject to a county testing site permit.
§ -3 Application for sustainable living research permit; evaluation; notice of public hearing. A person desiring a sustainable living research permit shall submit an application to the planning department for the county in which the proposed sustainable living research site is located. The application shall include:
(1) A detailed description of the sustainable living research that will be conducted on the sustainable living research site, including an explanation of the ideas, concepts, and inventions that will be tested;
(2) A site plan of the sustainable living research site;
(3) The number of inhabitants and employees that are expected to occupy the sustainable living research site;
(4) An assessment of the county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits relating to construction or building requirements, occupancy, zoning, or subdivisions that are not practicable for the specific sustainable living research site and that may inhibit the proposed sustainable living research;
(5) An application fee set by the planning commission;
(6) Other information as may be required by rules adopted pursuant to section -6 or by rule of the planning commission or ordinance of the county;
(7) Copies of all required state permits, including the approval of the wastewater treatment and disposal technology on an experimental basis; and
(8) An affidavit indemnifying the county and state from liabilities relating to the building exemptions.
§ -4 Application review; decision. (a) Following the application review, the planning department shall, in writing, make its decision. The planning department shall issue a sustainable living research permit if:
(1) The department of health has determined that the sustainable living research proposed to be conducted at the site will not damage land, water, or air adjacent to the site or will not cause unreasonable damage to the area of the sustainable living research site;
(2) No existing county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits, other than those identified in the permit, will be violated by the proposed sustainable living research at the site;
(3) The applicant has complied with rules adopted pursuant to section -6; and
(4) The proposed sustainable living research at the site may be beneficial to the development of sustainable living.
(b) A sustainable living research permit shall include:
(1) The specific sustainable living research that may be conducted at the sustainable living research site;
(2) The maximum number of structures that may be constructed;
(3) The maximum number of individuals that may inhabit the sustainable living research site;
(4) The specific county codes, ordinances, rules, and permits relating to construction or building requirements, occupancy, zoning, or subdivisions otherwise applicable to the permittee and the permittee's sustainable living research on the site but that do not apply to the permittee and research conducted pursuant to the permit; and
(5) Other restrictions on the sustainable living research site and the permittee's activities as required by rules adopted pursuant to section -6.
(c) The permit shall be filed and recorded in the records of the county clerk, and pursuant to this chapter, all the benefits and burdens of the permit shall run with the land.
(d) If the planning department denies an application for a sustainable living research permit or fails to rule on an application within ninety days after the application is filed, the applicant may appeal, within thirty days thereafter, the planning department's decision or failure to rule, to the appropriate planning commission.
§ -5 Sustainable living research permit. (a) The permittee, when conducting sustainable living research that is specified in the sustainable living research permit, shall comply with all applicable laws and rules except those county codes, ordinances, rules, or permits specified in the permit as inapplicable to the permittee and the research.
(b) Nothing in this chapter or the sustainable living research permit shall be deemed to allow the permittee to appropriate or otherwise use underground or surface water without first obtaining a water rights permit or approval pursuant to chapter 174C. New appropriations of water and water rights transfers shall in no event be exempted from state water law and rules.
(c) Relevant employees and agents of the State or the county, at all reasonable times, may enter the sustainable living research site for the purpose of inspecting the site and activities conducted on the site to ensure that conditions specified in the sustainable living research permit are being met.
(d) The permittee shall annually submit a report to the planning department and the department of health, describing the sustainable living research and activities conducted during the preceding twelve months and summarizing the results. All information contained in the report and all other information learned from activities pursuant to the sustainable living research permit shall be made available to the public.
(e) The planning commission may revoke the sustainable living research permit if it finds, after a public hearing, that the permittee has substantially violated a sustainable living research permit provision, this chapter or a rule adopted pursuant to this chapter, and has failed to correct the violation within thirty days of notification of the violation.
(f) A permittee may apply to have a sustainable living research permit amended by submitting a new application pursuant to section -3. If the planning department determines that the proposed amendment will substantially alter the sustainable living research or other activities conducted at the sustainable living research site and does not approve those changes, the permittee may appeal to the planning commission.
§ -6 Adoption of rules. The planning department may include, as part of the permit issued pursuant to this chapter, special rules and conditions that are consistent with the purpose and provisions of this chapter and other applicable laws and policies. If the applicant is not in agreement with any special rules and conditions imposed by the planning department, the applicant may appeal to the appropriate planning commission."
SECTION 3. No later than October 1, 2013, the planning department of each county shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, regarding the issuance of permits pursuant to this Act.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2013.
Sustainable Living Research Act; Counties; Development
Authorizes the use of certain land, subject to county approval and oversight, for research, development, and testing of sustainable agriculture, development, waste management, and resource management through planned community use. Effective July 1, 2013. (HB111 HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.