Land Development Agency Gets Rough Reception

Well over 100 people showed up to testify at a hearing held by the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) on proposed rules for the Public Land Development Corporation.

Much of the testimony focused not on the rules itself but on the mission of the Public Land Development Corp, (PLDC) a quasi-state agency established by the Legislature in 2011 to develop public-private partnerships to generate revenues from state lands.

The testimony was often emotional, with much of it highly critical of the PLDC’s authority to bypass county zoning and other land-use requirements.

At one point the corporation was compared to Nazis.

“Shame on you,” said one man testifying, eliciting more cries of “shame” from the audience.

“How stupid do you think the people of Hawai`i are that they would accept this dog-and-pony show?” said Ike Payne. He predicted that the DLNR would hear no supporting testimony as it holds hearings across the state.

Many of those speaking said they believed their testimony was futile, and that it would not be considered in the rule-making.

The Sierra Club has roused its members to testify against the rules which it calls “fundamentally flawed.”

This is in direct conflict with state law as it applies to planning,” said Puna resident Jon Olson. “You’re not going to get away with it.”

Jonathan Ota said he would not have a “dictator agency” in his state.

Robert Petricci drew rousing applause when he tore up a copy of the rules at the conclusion of his testimony.

Saying she didn’t want to see the Big Island turn into “another Oahu,” Sara Steiner said that Petricci had the right idea.

“Yeh, shove it,” she said to DLNR representatives holding the meeting.

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