Lingle defends her
review of agricultural land

The governor says the move
is part of her job as a leader

Gov. Linda Lingle is defending her call for a review of state agricultural land.

State of Hawaii Speaking before the Hawaii Agriculture and Landscape Industry Conference at the Pacific Beach Hotel, Lingle said the call for a review of agricultural land designations is part of her job as a leader.

"A leader has to get the greatest consensus possible, then make a decision and move forward," Lingle said.

"Political pandering is coming out in the newspaper and saying that clarifying what lands should be for agriculture is bad because you are trying to remove agriculture land and that is bad," Lingle said.

While stopping short of naming him, Lingle's comments came after Senate President Robert Bunda criticized Lingle's push to review agriculture land policy.

"The reluctance and inability of our political leaders in the state to deal with the land-use classification system over the past couple of decades has led to the current serious situation," Lingle said.

Earlier this week, Bunda called Lingle's plan a move to open more lands for development. "That's not good," Bunda had said.

The issue has been compounded by a recent Big Island court decision stopping the upscale Hokulia residential project in Kona because developer 1250 Oceanside Partners did not ask the Land Use Commission for a land reclassification. The 1,550-acre project is on agricultural land.

Dumping land into the agriculture designation and then using it for luxury estates has been an "abuse of the development process," Lingle said.

The solution Lingle prefers would be to do away with the Land Use Commission, which she said duplicates work done on a county level.

"This two-tiered system is one of the major contributions to the high cost of living and housing in our state," Lingle said.

But, she conceded, it is not likely that such a change would happen.


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