Rep. Cynthia Thielen addresses SB2341 – Zoning; Agricultural Tourism

The purpose of this bill is to repeal the prohibition on ordinances that allow overnight accommodations in agricultural districts. The bill authorizes agricultural tourism activities, including overnight accommodations of 21 days or less, within a county with a population greater than 100,000 people, but less than 150,000 people; provided that the county has adopted ordinances regulating agricultural tourism. Effective July 1, 2112.

DOA concerned that overnight accommodations would dramatically alter concept of agricultural tourism as originally intended and could cause agricultural tourism to be primary, rather than secondary, land use. Office of the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu: concern that there is the potential to transform much of the agricultural district, particularly the scenic regions, into a “vacation rental district,” as there may be more profit from tourism than agriculture. It will also increase the value/price of the land. While this bill is for Maui, the Office has concerns about it setting a precedent for other islands. Also, Oahu imports food from neighbor islands and therefore impacts supply on Oahu. This is a Pandora’s box; more study needed. Sierra Club: Special Use Permits can currently be done; recommends sunset clause if passes. These permits are more protective, on a case-by-case basis.

Rep. Thielen addressing SB2341 second time

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