DBEDT NEWS RELEASE: THE STATE OF HAWAII OFFICE OF PLANNING BECOMES THE NEW – “STATE OF HAWAII OFFICE OF PLANNING AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT”

Posted on Jul 2, 2021 in Latest News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – Governor David Ige recently signed into law, House Bills 1149 and 1318 as Acts 153 and 152, respectively. The two laws work in conjunction and consolidate various government land use and environmental policy functions of different agencies into the newly renamed “Office of Planning and Sustainable Development.”  Act 153 administratively attaches the State of Hawaiʻi Land Use Commission and its staff to the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development. The State’s Land Use Commission will continue its activities, with its nine members who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

The Commission’s primary role is to ensure that areas of concern by the State are addressed and considered in the land use decision-making process. The Commission will continue to establish the district boundaries for the entire state and acts on petitions for boundary changes submitted by private landowners, developers and state and county agencies. The Commission will also continue to act on requests for special use permits within the Agricultural and Rural Districts.

Additionally, Act 152, consolidates the Office of Environmental Quality Control, its staff, and the Environmental Council, renamed the “Environmental Advisory Council”, within the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development. The Office of Environmental Quality Control facilitates Hawaiʻi’s environmental review process (commonly known as HEPA), pursuant to Chapter 343, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, was previously administratively attached to the Department of Health. The Office of Environmental Quality Control will be renamed to “Environmental Review Program” within the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development.

The functions, rules, dockets, special use permits, environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, The Environmental Notice, and public availability and services of both the State Land Use Commission and the Office of Environmental Quality Control will continue to remain in effect and unchanged. The functions, roles, and responsibilities of the Office of Planning’s pre-existing programs; the Coastal Zone Management Program, Statewide GIS Program, Land Use Division, Special Plans Branch, and Statewide Sustainability Program will also continue to remain in effect.

The purpose of this consolidation is to improve the coordination of these related land use and environmental policy functions for Hawaiʻi’s State Government to work more efficiently to achieve the State’s long-term sustainability and climate change targets for a more abundant future for the people of Hawaiʻi.

This consolidation builds upon the recent passage and enactment of Act 45, Session Laws of Hawaiʻi 2020, which officially established the Statewide Sustainability Program within the Office of Planning, and previously directed the Office of Planning to expand its efforts and responsibilities to include statewide sea level rise coordination, and sustainability and climate change adaptation planning and coordination.

“The Office of Planning and Sustainable Development will continue to work actively in planning for Hawaiʻi’s sustainable development and climate adaptation to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations of Hawaiʻi to meet their own needs,” said Mary Alice Evans, director of the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development. “We thank Governor Ige and the Hawaiʻi State Legislature for this opportunity to expand, streamline, and modernize our office to assist the State of Hawaiʻi prepare and face these sustainable development and climate change adaptation challenges.”

About the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning and Sustainable Development

The State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning and Sustainable Development is a state agency, administratively attached to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), that gathers, analyzes and provides information to the governor to assist in the overall analysis and formulation of state policies and strategies. Its purpose is to: (1) provide central direction and cohesion in the allocation of resources and effectuation of state activities and programs; and (2) effectively address current or emerging issues and opportunities. The office works closely with local, state and federal government agencies; the University of Hawai‘i; and various community stakeholders to achieve these objectives.

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