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jade
Da Kine

329 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2008 :  09:35:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am so tired of people thinking government is the answer for everything.
http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/articles/2008/10/08/local_news/local06.txt
The government is the one who will win this one by raising fees. Only the rich should move here. I guess that's what a lot of people want. I am here and I have mine let's not make it affordable for new ones.
Let's just stop progress.
You can buy property and pay property taxes but heaven forbid if you want to develope it and actually move here. I might have to look in your back yard and not the invasive weeds/trees that are growing next to me.

Rob Tucker
Kama'aina

9904 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2008 :  12:34:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hawaii County has long been twenty years behind the times...... that has it's pluses and minuses. The rest of the country - especially California which drives western building codes - put in grading and grubbing requirements 20+ years ago. I think what drove Hawaii County to adopting new regulations was the influx of mainland speculators who showed up and ripped the hell out of the land creating lots of environmental problems.

One key example was the Hokulia Project in Kona. This $1.5 billion development of gated mansions started out with heavy unregulated grading. Heavy rains caused massive amounts of silt to run off into the ocean and buried a living reef. Not something that you can clean up with a broom and dustpan.

You myst all realize that regulations of this type did not just occur to someone like a bright idea one night. They are the result of excesses unacceptable to the outraged communities. Very recently the national financial community was demanding deregulation as the solution. We see where that led.

I have not examined the G&G regs enough yet myself. I might find myself at council testifying on ways to amend it or to propose ways to mitigate the costs.


But Jade, the CoH has taken this action at the demand of residents.

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esnap
Kamaaina

USA
565 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2008 :  15:33:19  Show Profile  Visit esnap's Homepage  Reply with Quote
More government policy to be ignored.
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loffelkopffl
Kamaaina

USA
738 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2008 :  18:34:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i think it makes sense to have some regulations regarding the destruction of the rainforests
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EightFingers
Punatic

USA
2653 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2008 :  08:54:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So if you own a lot of land, does it make whatever's more than an acre de facto conservation land?
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Bob Orts
Punatic

1640 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2008 :  09:00:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by EightFingers

So if you own a lot of land, does it make whatever's more than an acre de facto conservation land?



That depends on what they are talking about. If anyone has the actual legislation that is being discussed, that would be great.

One only deals with the setback buffer, another with the entire land including stupid stuff, and the third with strengthening the existing ordinances.

So which one?
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Mitzi M
Da Kine

305 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2008 :  13:18:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote: Originally posted by EightFingers


So if you own a lot of land, does it make whatever's more than an acre de facto conservation land?



NO. Conservation land is designated and managed by the State. If you buy land designated conservation, your realtor will disclose this and let you know which of the 4 types it is - so you'll know what you're getting into. If you want to develop it you'll need a permit from BNLR. The County has nothing to do with it except, when and if you get your State permit, you'll get your building permit from them.

Apparently there are many misconceptions about this ordinance.

The Grading and Grubbing Ordinance (also known as "Erosion and Sedimentation") is one of the County's ordinances that regulate building found in the General Plan. You can check it out on their website - It's chapter 10.

Most municipalities have a G&G ordinance like this one on the books. Its purpose is primarily to prevent erosion, sedimentation and flooding due to improper land clearing, and also to protect soil, watersheds and coastal environments.

What does any of this have to do with trees, you ask? In Hawai'i everything! Native forest communities are extremely well adapted to our soils and rainfall regimes. They do a much better job at holding soil and filtering runoff than do alien plants, or anything else you could plant in their place. Hawai'i was the very first state to have a system of forest reserves because sugar planters figured out early on if they wanted water for irrigation they had to preserve the forests in the watershed.

Currently you will need a permit to clear (grub) more than 1 acre of area on your property - regardless of the overall property size. If you are clearing 1-6 acres your permit will cost you FIVE DOLLARS - I'm not lying. Over 6 acres it's going to run you 11 bucks. I don't know if the government is getting rich off of us on this one.

This ordinance is due to be revised this year and communities across the island have called for stricter regulations. People have been motivated to get involved because of some real disasters caused by big developers.

You can check out the recommended changes in the G&G ordinance in the Puna CDP for yourself. I didn’t work on the document myself, and there are many others who could address this issue better than I can. I do know of a few things that came out of the working groups. Basically the applicant would have to show proof that they actually own the land and (at least) a pin survey is required to show the property boundaries. (Many people will already have a pin survey because they're pretty handy but if not, they're also pretty reasonable)

Any significant cultural sites should be fenced during clearing operations - I think it's reasonable to ask someone to at least not flatten something like a heiau.

Other recommendations call for the State to assist in mapping significant stands of remaining native forest, and suggest that for these areas at least, permits should be required for clearing less than 1 acre. It was also suggested that in these specific areas of intact native forest a buffer of a minimum of (I think)10 feet should be required along the right of way property boundary edge. This would provide at least a thin continuous corridor of habitat for species of birds, many of them endangered, that require continuous tree cover.

A very important thing to remember is that the suggested buffer revision does not apply to non-native plant communities. So if you have a load of albezia or christmasberry or cane grass on your land you can still doze the heck out of it wherever you want.
Personally, I think if you buy some of the very limited amount of land with intact native forest, a ten foot buffer is a pretty small thing to ask.

Development tragedies like the recent one at Puako where loads of sediment washed into the sea killing much of the coral reef there destroy irreplaceable resources that belong to everyone. I do not know if anyone was held accountable or even fined over that incident but I do expect the government to protect these resources that belong to all of us.

Aloha,
Mitzi





Edited by - Mitzi M on 10/10/2008 13:22:15
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JerryCarr
Punatic

2395 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2008 :  13:26:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What about enforcement? It won't make a bit of difference if not consistently enforced.

Cheers,
Jerry
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EightFingers
Punatic

USA
2653 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  11:01:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Mitzi M. Still a little unclear, but I guess once I submit my plans, I'm sure it will be made very clear!
We have about 30 acres of native ohi'a forest and all I want to clear would be 2 to 3 acres with the rest being left wild (maybe a few walking/biking paths).
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Mitzi M
Da Kine

305 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  12:36:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds like a good plan 8fingers!
Along with that five dollar bill you will need a plan drawing of your property with the area you want to clear marked out. You can talk with the folks in planning about it for the details but it dosen't need to be fancy.

With 30 acres to work with it sounds like you'll have plenty of options for a house site. Assuming it's not cleared at all, the trick might be to get in there and look for yourself so you'll know what you have and then decide how to site your drive and housepad. In a lot of 'ohi'a rich areas there's a good chance you'll have some other natives on the land as well. Good luck!


Uluhe Design
Native Landscape Design
uluhedesign@yahoo.com
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Bob Orts
Punatic

1640 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  18:13:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mitzi M

Sounds like a good plan 8fingers!
Along with that five dollar bill you will need a plan drawing of your property with the area you want to clear marked out. You can talk with the folks in planning about it for the details but it dosen't need to be fancy.

For that size, he would need a formal application and 3 sets of plans prepared by a Hawaii licensed engineer or surveyor showing all buildings, structures, designated or otherwise known historic, burial and archeological sites, all known grading and grubbing, large trees, definable rock outcropping, lava tubes, and anything else significant. Also all the above on neighboring property if within 15 feet of the work. All contours, elevations and cross section showing the topography before and after the work. Same for five feet into the neighboring property. All known water courses. Location of all permanent and temporary BMP's. The area in square feet to be graded and the quantity of excavation and fill. And anything else required. Plus, for that amount of land (over 15,000 sq feet total on the property) an erosion control plan prepared by an engineer with all those special requirements. The application must be reviewed and approved by Hawaii's Historic Preservation Division and the County Planning Dept. Of course you hope everything is exactly what is on the plan because if anything pops up during the work.... Don't know about you but that seems fancy to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Mitzi M

Along with that five dollar

Actually, if you read the proposed law, it’s more like $50.00, not $5, plus the Volume of Material fees.

Edited by - Bob Orts on 10/13/2008 18:21:02
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Mitzi M
Da Kine

305 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  18:47:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes Bob, if you needed a grading permit that would be the very fancy process. But if you just need a permit to grub (or clear land) it's a different and much less complicated story. For an area that size your site plan does not need anyone's stamp for this permit. Per my recent conversation with the folks in HiCo Planning. Five bucks seems a little thin for any kind of permit - but that's the answer I got from them.
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David M
Punatic

USA
2182 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  22:20:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From County Code:

(7) “Grading” means any excavation or fill or any combination thereof.
(8) “Grubbing” means any act by which vegetation, including trees, timber, shrubbery and plants, is
removed, dislodged, uprooted or cleared from the surface of the ground.

I'm gonna guess if building a house, chances are you're gonna be grading. Permit?

David



Ninole Resident
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Bob Orts
Punatic

1640 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2008 :  08:44:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mitzi M

Yes Bob, if you needed a grading permit that would be the very fancy process. But if you just need a permit to grub (or clear land) it's a different and much less complicated story. For an area that size your site plan does not need anyone's stamp for this permit.

I think he said he wanted to clear more than 1 acre, which automatically bars him from any exclusion (grade, grub, erosion). This is because 10-6(b)(7) sets the maximum area of 1 acre or less to be exempt, any grubbing/grading over 1 acre triggers the full permit process and erosion control.

quote:
Originally posted by Mitzi M

For an area that size your site plan does not need anyone's stamp for this permit.

READ the ordinance!
He needs an additional plan by a civil engineer because of the “Erosion Control” provision which is triggered because it’s more than 1 acre total. That doesn’t sound like some hand drawn piece of non-fancy paper. Does it?

quote:
Originally posted by Mitzi M

Per my recent conversation with the folks in HiCo Planning. Five bucks seems a little thin for any kind of permit - but that's the answer I got from them.

I can't comment on what you were told but READ the ordinance, the bare minimum permit fee under the new ordinance will be $15 not $5. Now I know that's not much money, but add all the other “fees” and it goes up from there.

Saving grace is the revised ordinance has not been voted on so it’s not on the books. Better get that clearing done before it does.

I understand people want this because it's aimed at developers who destroy the land, but it's not just developers but everyone who gets saddled with this ordinance. The ordinance was written in such a way to give the illusion that Joe Average wouldn’t be impacted but the truth is, you can not claim any exemption unless you fall within the exemption categories and the only way to fall within the exemption categories is to have full plans prepared. The only thing the exemption saves the average property owner is $15. It’s a Catch-22, you need the plan to get a $15 (starting) permit and you need the plan to prove you’re exempt from the permit fee.

Point of Clarification:
My comments are not based on the current HCC-Chapter 10, but on Bill 373 which will revise Chapter 10.

Edited by - Bob Orts on 10/14/2008 08:55:45
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EightFingers
Punatic

USA
2653 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2008 :  09:37:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
<koff-koff> And I thought we had regulations here!

Looks like the best way is to keep it under an acre.......

My land is zoned AG-20......but I can't use the "AG" part since I can't clear more than an acre. What if I wanted to grow 3 acres of anthuriums and/or orchids? Looks like I can't because now my land has been turned into conservation land via this ordinance. I suppose I could harvest Ohi'a wood (I do plan to use some to build furniture for my house).
Maybe I'm overthinking this and come this March, I'll be visiting with powers-that-be with my plans. Should be interetsing for sure.
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Rob Tucker
Kama'aina

9904 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2008 :  10:05:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So gentlemen, I am curious. How many cubic yards of earth or acres of forest should you be entitled to grade, grub or clear without being required to obtain a permit or prepare a plan?

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