East Hawaii News

Senate Committee Approves School Land Development

March 19, 2013, 8:56 AM HST
* Updated March 19, 12:44 PM
Listen to this Article
1 minute
Loading Audio...
A
A
A

Yesterday the Senate Education Committee approved a bill that would create a pilot program to redevelop public school lands through public-private partnerships.

House Bill 865 has the support of Governor Neil Abercrombie, and is meant to raise funds for the repair and maintenance of Hawaii public schools, which face decaying infrastructure.

Although the bill doesn’t specifically name any proposals, proponents cite the University of Hawaii’s success in utilizing private companies on-campus to generate revenue.

The University’s Manoa campus mixes student facilities with private sector businesses like Ba-le Sandwich Shop and Jamba Juice.

At the University of Hawaii at Hilo, a new student housing complex under construction will feature a campus-related commercial center. According to UH officials, the initiative will be “planned and developed by the private sector.”

Phase 2 of UH Hilo's new student housing complex will be designed in part by the private sector. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Phase 2 of UH Hilo’s new student housing complex will be designed in part by the private sector. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Opponents of the bill fear runaway construction on public school lands, comparing it to the much-maligned Public Land Development Corporation, which could be repealed this session.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

The PLDC was criticized for what opponents said was an ability to bypass county zoning rules.

House Bill 865 was amended by the committee to reflect the Senate version of the bill, which limits development to two projects over the course of three years.

Supporters hope that a limited ‘pilot program’ would allow the DOE to demonstrate the usefulness of public-private partnerships on school lands, and generate public trust.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Big Island Senator Russell Ruderman voted in favor of the bill, along with three other lawmakers. Senator Sam Slom of Oahu voted against it.

The proposal now moves on to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Comments

This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments

Newsletters

Get a quick summary of what’s happening on the Big Island with our daily & weekly email of news highlights.