East Hawaii News

Proposals for PONC Land Acquisition Sought

April 21, 2015, 7:32 AM HST
* Updated April 21, 7:33 AM
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The County of Hawai’i Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission is asking the public to submit properties that should be purchased and preserved.

Individuals interested in submitting a proposed idea can download a form from the County website or by requesting a form at the County of Hawai‘i Property Management Division, located at the County Building on 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1101 in Hilo.

All submissions should be received by June 30 and have the potential to be included in the commission’s annual prioritized list and report to Mayor Billy Kenoi.

According to the county, suggestions received from the public are reviewed by the commissioners. Important factors of each property are evaluated, including historic and culturally important features, opportunities for outdoor recreation and education, public access to beaches or mountains, preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty, and the overall benefit the property provides to the public.

Once the properties have been reviewed, potential acquisitions are prioritized and listed before being sent to the Mayor at the end of the year. These recommendations can be forwarded to the Hawai’i County Council, where resolutions can be made to authorize the purchase of the property.

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A total of 1,261 acres of open space purchases have been made. Some of the areas include Kawa oceanfront parcels in Ka’u, Kaiholena and Pa’o’ oceanfront parcels in North Kohala, Kipapa Park, White Sands Mauka, and ‘O’oma in North Kona, property near Waipio Lookout in Hamakua, and the Banyan trees parcel in Hawi.

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PONC funds come from two percent of Hawai’i County’s annual real property tax revenues. More than $7.5 million has also been matched through donation from other sources, according to the county. In addition to the money to acquire the land, a maintenance fund has been established to maintain properties that are bought with PONC funds.

There are nine PONC commissioners, one for each of the nine County Council districts on the Big Island. Every other month, the commission meets at either the Hilo County Building or the West Hawai’i Civic Center, and public testimony is always welcome.

Visit the County website to find out the commissioner for your district.

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For further information, or if you’re interested in becoming a commissioner, contact Alexandra Kelepolo of the County of Hawai’i Property Management Division by calling 961-8069 or visit the County website.

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