East Hawaii News

PONC Seeks Public Input on Future Preservation Acquisitions

April 29, 2016, 4:43 PM HST
* Updated April 29, 4:16 PM
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'O'oma Beach was purchased in 2014 as part of the County of Hawai'i's Open Space program. File photo by the County of Hawai'i.

‘O’oma Beach was purchased in 2014 as part of the County of Hawai’i’s Open Space program. File photo by the County of Hawai’i.

The County of Hawai’i Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Commission is seeking out properties on the Big Island that should be permanently preserved.

Members of the public can propose properties to PONC that they believe should be purchases for preservation purposes.

Proposed ideas will undergo the commissioner’s review and be considered under factors like 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, protection of natural resources and watershed lands, potential partners for management, and the general benefits to the public.

Potential acquisitions are then prioritized and listed in a report that is sent to the Mayor at the end of each year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Hawai‘i County Council, which adopts resolutions to authorize property purchases.

Past open space purchases total 1,287 acres. Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena, Pa‘o‘o, and Hāwī Banyan Trees property in North Kohala; Kīpapa Park, White Sands Mauka, and ‘O‘oma in North Kona; property near Waipi‘o Lookout in Hāmākua; and the newly acquired Pohoiki Bay parcel in Puna all fall under PONC.

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Two percent of the funds for the acquisitions comes from Hawai’i County’s annual real property tax revenues. Over $7.5 million in matching funds and donations from other sources have also been raised as PONC funds.

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A maintenance fund has also been established to provide stewardship assistance to community organizations to maintain properties that are acquired with PONC funds.

The public can submit proposed ideas on the County of Hawai’i website or by visiting the County of Hawai’i’s Property Management Division on Aupuni Street in Hilo.

Suggestion forms are due by June 30.

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