Guzman Seeks Creation of Agricultural Conservation Lots
By Maui Now Staff
A bill that allows for the creation of agricultural conservation lots in Maui County comes up for review before the Council Committee on Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture, and Recreation on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.
Kahului councilmember Don Guzman, who introduced the bill, and chairs the committee, called the proposal a “win-win situation for landowners, developers, farmers, county resources and environmental protection initiatives.”
In a press release statement he said, “It encourages better land and infrastructure management, which will help maintain Maui County’s pristine agricultural landscape.”
Guzman said the law as it is currently written presents “profitability challenges” to developers and to large-scale farmers who need vast land space for operations.Under current law, he notes a 750-acre agricultural parcel must be divided into 14 two-acre lots, 12 15-acre lots, seven 25-acre lots, three 40-acre lots and one 247-acre lot.
Under the proposal, Guzman said his bill would allow the same 750-acre lot to be divided into a cluster of 36 contiguous one-acre lots and one large 714-acre parcel dedicated as an “agricultural conservation lot.” This would be created through a conservation easement or a unilateral agreement filed by the landowner.
Guzman described the clustered lots as “efficient and cost-effective,” saying the government could concentrate infrastructure development, including roads, water and wastewater, to just one section of the property.
The bill would amend the agricultural zoning ordinance to allow one-acre lots, deviating from the normal two-acre minimum, for subdivisions that create an agricultural conservation lot dedicated to agricultural uses in perpetuity.
Guzman said the bill would maintain open space and boost production capacity.
During the committee meeting, members will decide whether or not to recommend adoption of the resolution. If the item advances, it will move on to the planning commission for further review. Tuesday’s committee meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Council chamber.