Friday, August 24, 2012

Uproar: ACT 55 - Public Land Development Corp (PLDC)

Updated 10/2/12: A PLDC Hawaii Wide Day of Action is being planned for 10/8 on all islands. Visit the PLDC Hawaii Protest page on Facebook

Another uproar is brewing in Hawaii...

Act 55 was passed very quickly last year and hailed by Governor Abercrombie. It allows the public lands to be managed by a corporation without any oversight, without any input from the public. They have exemptions from zoning laws too.

Supporters cite the Mauna Kea State Park as an example, suggesting that these facilities would be used in a way like the National Parks system, with a private/public partnership. But opponents say that this corporation could abuse its powers to create hotels, golf courses, and other big money projects. Hawaii has a long history of development tied together with corruption. 

One of many video clips from the Hilo (corrected from Kona) hearing. This one is 15 minutes. An easy to listen to video (meaning it's edited and is comprised of short segments) is located at  More videos of the hearing and the PLDC are available on youtube. 

According to one testifier at the Hilo hearing, PLDC can terminate leases, and can take over land, with only one hearing to transfer public land to private landowners and can ignore building codes, community development plans and construction plans and requirements. Neighbors of PLDC projects can be forced to install costly underground utilities with only 30 days notice and if they don't pay, the state can automatically go in to their properties, do these changes and then charge the landowners or make a lien on their property.

One thing that's very disturbing is that many people on Maui have been working on the Maui General Island Plan and this PLDC can ignore it completely!

Another commenter noted, "Should businesses get out of following all those pesky laws that we locals have to?
Should they be able to build what they want without getting comments from the neighbors? And then charge the costs to the people living nearby? And not pay any state taxes at all?
And who really owns those public lands anyway? Does the state really have the authority to give them away or do they belong to the Hawaiian people? And who decides what projects happen, under what criteria?"

The first public hearing was held in Kona and one commenter noted, "At the Kona meeting the public was NOT ALLOWED TO ASK QUESTIONS!!!!"  Obviously people are not too happy about this.

More hearings are scheduled for the other islands:
August 24 (6:00 p.m.) Maui (Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria) TONIGHT 

August 27 (6:00 p.m.) Molokai (Mitchell Pauole Community Center)

August 29 (6:00 p.m.) Oahu (Dept. of Land and Natural Resources Kalanimoku Building, Room 132)

August 31 (6:00 p.m.) Kauai (Elsie H. Wilcox Elementary School)

More information can be found at the Maui Testify to Reject the PLDC page, including summaries and talking points.

For VIDEO footage of the hearing on the Big Island, visit

EMAIL COMMENTS accepted prior to Sept 14 at - and for those who are unable to provide in-person testimony. Or send written testimony to PLDC, P.O. Box 2359, Honolulu, HI 96804.

More information on the PLDC is available at: . Copies of the proposed rules change are available on-line at> .

Maui Tomorrow, a local nonprofit that monitors land issues and supports stewardship of Maui resources, opposes the PLDC. Read more at

Credit for this post includes Courtney Bruch and Amara Karuna.


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