East Hawaii News

Abercrombie Puts PLDC Rules on Hold, Orders More Meetings

November 23, 2012, 5:15 PM HST
* Updated November 23, 5:16 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today directed the Public Land Development Corp. to temporarily delay any further action on its administrative rules, and ordered that additional hearings be held regarding the public’s concerns about the controversial agency.

The PLDC has been met with a firestorm of protest over the past several months. That has included numerous calls for repeal of the 2011 legislation that created it.

Much of the criticism has centered on the agency’s authority to bypass some state land-use laws and also county zoning and subdivision requirements.

Others have criticized the way the bill creating the agency moved through the Legislature.

Abercrombie’s message asked the PLDC’s board of directors to defer action on its rules while the public’s concerns “are fully considered and addressed.”

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“I do not want the potential for the PLDC to accomplish public good to be lost because of a failure to account for reservations about either the process or the outcome,” he said.

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The agency was created to work with private companies and other non-government entitities willing to develop state lands to boost state revenues.

Abercrombie said today he has directed William Aila Jr., chairperson of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the agency which handles the administration of the PLDC, to “meet with stakeholders to address the PLDC’s administrative rules and the rule-making process before moving forward.”

The meetings will be done with “full accountability and transparency,” Abercrombie said, “with the understanding that if public concerns cannot be adequately addressed, then a legislative process may be appropriate.”

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Some members of the Legislature, including Senate President Shan Tsutsui, have already signaled that they intended to amend or repeal Act 55, the 2011 law that created the agency.

According to a website established last month by the Sierra Club, at least eight of 25 senators and 22 of 51 House members have indicated they support at least some changes to the PLDC.

Opposition to the agency has also come from at least two of the state’s county councils.

The PDLC was met with hostile crowds when it held a series of public hearings across the state in August to solicit comment on its operating rules.

The agency was heavily criticized again when it held a single meeting on an amended version of the rules earlier this month on Oahu.

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