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Regulations for Building an Oahu Home on Agricultural Land

photo courtesy of www.mountainriders.com/

BY RON HAMIC - Can I build a home on agricultural land, or AG zoning in Hawaii?

Although this is a complex question that only a qualified attorney versed in Hawaii’s Land Use Ordinance (LUO) can answer with regard to your specific property and intended use, I’ll summarize the law as it applies today, and briefly touch on attempted legislation that may change that in the near future.

The short answer is: Yes, you can build a house on AG zoned properties on Oahu. However, the main use of the land must fall within permitted use. Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) 205-4.5 has established permissible uses and they include, but are not limited to:

  1. Cultivation of crops
  2. Game and fish propagation
  3. Raising of livestock
  4. Farm dwellings and farm buildings

You will be required to file a farm plan with the Honolulu Department of Planning & Permitting in order to receive approval to build a farm dwelling, wherein you’ll have to establish that the farm dwelling will be an “accessory use” to agriculture, agricultural land conservation, or both, and that >50% of the lot will be used as such.

A “farm dwelling” is defined per HRS 205-4.5(a) as “a single family dwelling located and used in conjunction with a farm…where agricultural activity provides income to the family occupying the dwelling.”

Does this mean you can sell some vegetables at the local swap meet on the weekends to get around the system, and build an amazing home on cheaply acquired agricultural land? It seems that many homeowners have done this, and new bills have been proposed to combat this problem, and keep farmers on farmland. I’ll keep you updated with progress on this legislation as it passes…

Have questions about agricultural land, or other real estate? Contact me.

Ron Hamic (RA), ABR, RSPS, SRES, CDPE , e-PRO, SFR, AHWD, REW, has worked in real estate since 2007. See more about him at http://www.hawaiilife.com/articles/author/ron/

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1 Comment for “Regulations for Building an Oahu Home on Agricultural Land”

  1. What other farm buildings are allowed, and what size, and number etc.?

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