At Long Last… A Historic OHA/State Settlement

`Ano`ai kakou…  On April 11, 2012, in an emotional ceremony at Washington Place, Governor Abercrombie signed the historic $200 million settlement between the State and OHA.  After many years of negotiations, OHA has finally resolved all claims that were raised with the State relating to its portion of income from the public land trust from November 7, 1978 to June 30, 2012.  The State has now fulfilled its constitutional obligations to Native Hawaiians by providing OHA with fee simple title to lands in Kakaako makai.  The proposal will not affect any other claims against the state.

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to those who made this momentous settlement possible: Governor Neil Abercrombie; Senate President Shan Tsutsui; House Speaker Calvin Say; the Chairs of the House and Senate committees that heard the bill; the Native Hawaiian Caucus, and all of the legislators who voted for this historic settlement.  I also thank the following Native Hawaiian organizations for their support:  The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Home Lands Assembly, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Kamehameha Schools.

The lands that were transferred to OHA will someday generate the revenue needed to support OHA’s many Native Hawaiian programs.  This process may take some time, but we are well on our way to someday being completely self-sufficient.

Senate Bill 682

The intent of Senate Bill 682 is to add value to two parcels of land that are among the lands in Kaka’ako Makai that SB2783 conveys to OHA.  SB682 specifically proposes to allow certain lots in the makai area of Kakaako Community Development District to be developed for residential units and exempt from public facilities fees, provided that 20 percent of the units are designated for residents in the low- or moderate-income range.

OHA appreciates the bill’s intent and didn’t object to its passage — as long as it didn’t hurt the passage of SB 2783.  The right to develop residential structures on these two lots would add significant value and provide much needed revenue for our Nation.

It should also be noted that OHA remains committed to the guiding principles of the Conceptual Master Plan and will address these principles in any application for development permits for the two lots.  OHA will also be able to request entitlements for the S82783 properties in subsequent legislative sessions once OHA becomes the landowner.

On April 5, 2012, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that SB682 was likely dead in the House.  However, the Senate’s Ways and Means and Judiciary and Labor committees added similar language into a related bill that had already passed the House — HB2819 — so if this House bill is approved by the full Senate, the language for SB682 could still be heard in conference committee before the end of session on May 3rd.

Senator Clayton Hee, Chairman of the Judiciary and Labor Committee, was quoted as saying, “It’s an important bill in terms of economic development, in terms of some of the members who felt — and continue to feel — that the settlement doesn’t meet the amount that should have been settled on.”  Aloha Ke Akua.