January 29th, 2013

House lawmakers plan to take up the issue of the Public Land Development Corp. next week.

The House Committee on Water and Land has scheduled a public hearing on Saturday, Feb. 9, to hear various bills that would either repeal the PLDC altogether, make amendments to the law, or start from scratch and create a new agency with greater community input.

The PLDC, set up as the development arm of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, was given broad exemptions from land use, planning and zoning laws as incentives to attract private developers for projects on state land. But the new corporation has not developed a single project — and has yet to adopt administrative rules — after vehement protests from environmental, labor and some Native Hawaiian interests.

Prior to the 2013 session, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he would consider a repeal of the PLDC if the Legislature is unable to adjust the law to satisfy public objections.

In a news release Tuesday, Water and Land Chairwoman Cindy Evans (Kaupulehu-Waimea-Halaula) said:

“As the Chair of Water and Land I am approaching the issue from the standpoint of repeal. The PLDC cannot exist as is, something has to change; however, I am open to options and the most compelling argument will move forward.”

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