A “must-pass” priority of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration this legislative session – transfer of $200 million
worth of land to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs — has survived unscathed to date and has just a few more hurdles to clear before enactment.
The future is cloudier for a related measure passed by the Senate which would allow high rise residential development on some of the land involved in the transfer.
The main land transfer bill already cleared the Senate and yesterday passed through the House Judiciary Committee in unamended form. Only the Finance Committee and a full vote by the House remain.
The measure is intended to compensate OHA for lost revenues from public land trusts established by the 1978 state Constitutional Convention.
The issue has been under dispute and negotiation for decades but now OHA and the administration have agreed to the settlement and have been urging lawmakers to approve it.
The second measure, introduced in the Senate, is meant to increase the value of the land by removing development restrictions on two parcels included in the transfer.
The governor and OHA say they are not opposed to the idea but don’t want it to get in the way of the overall settlement.
The two parcels are on the ocean side of Ala Moana Boulevard in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu – the same area where community groups banded together to stop another high-rise residential project in 2006.
Now some of those same groups are voicing opposition to the second bill.
After hearing pro and con arguments yesterday, House Judiciary Committee members decided they needed more time to study the bill and delayed a vote until Thursday afternoon.