Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hand drawn and colored maps of lands in Ka`u and other Hawai`i Islaand regions will be discussed during
a presentation called The Value of Plantation-Era Archives in Today's World, April 18 at Hawai`i Volcanoes
National Park. See story below. Photo from HVNP

THE TINY HOMES BILL FOR AGRICULTURAL LAND goes to a hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday. Launched as a way to provide more farm worker housing; and to allow more farmers to live on the land to protect crops, animals and machinery from theft,  the bills HB2, HD2 and SD1 have drawn opposition from the Hawai`i County Planning Department and state Department of Agriculture chief Scott Enright.  It has also received numerous support letters from farmers and tiny homes advocates.
     The legislation "authorizes tiny homes of less than 500 square feet for farm workers in agricultural districts in a county with a population of more than 180,000 but less than 250,000," which means that the tiny homes would be allowed only in the County of Hawai`i.
Tiny houses, less than 500 square feet would be allowed on farms.  Photo by Julia Neal
         The Department of Agriculture chief testified that the measure "may result in adverse consequences and said, "The Department is concerned that these 'tiny homes' do not become defacto residential dwellings if the County is unable to adequately monitor and enforce the farm worker/family occupancy requirement for these 'tiny homes.'"
     County of Hawai`i Planning Director Michael Yee testified, "We appreciate the intent of this bill to authorize the construction and use of 'tiny homes' as affordable housing for farm workers to encourage the healthy and productive farming. Unfortunately, we see treat potential that this provision, should it be adopted, will lead toward unintended abuse of of the very agricultural lands we are entrusted to protect by the State Land Use Law and our local zoning code.
Tiny House from Habitats Hawai`i.
See www.habitatshawaii.com
     "As currently written, this bill will allow 'farm workers or their immediate family members' to occupy agricultural land provided that the 'farmer' has a business license and is engaged in agriculture.
     "Anyone can easily obtain a business license and there is no level of specified engagement in agriculture within the bill that would justify a 'tiny home.' A person could just obtain a business license, plan and maintain a single tree, and generate no income whatsoever, and would thereby qualify for a tiny home on agricultural land. Secondly, a maximum number of tiny homes permitted on any given agricultural lot is not specified. This could potentially turn agricultural lands into affordable housing communities with no clear expectation of any increase in agricultural productivity," stated the Planning Director. He asked the legislature to "carefully weigh the potential deleterious effect this bill, if adopted, would have upon our ability to protect our agricultural lands."
     The State of Hawai`i, Office of Planning wrote testimony contending that the Office of Planning "fully supports effort to help local farmers and grow the State's agricultural economy, but this is not an issue that can be sol, said the bill "has the potential to place farm labor families at risk of exposure to dust and pesticides and other public health and safety concerns. It also provides another pathway for non-agricultural residential use in the State Agricultural District, which could contribute to further use of these dwellings for transient accommodations, increases in agricultural land values, and exurban sprawl without attendant public facilities and services."
The One Island Sustainable Living movement endorses
the bill for tiny houses on ag land. See www.oneisland.org.
     Marc Montgomery, of the Hawai`i Island Food Alliance, testified that tiny houses can be built with locally sourced materials - for example albizia. He said that allowing tiny homes on ag land would help to encourage smaller producers as well as large farms to meet housing/office needs on site. "Our food system is cripled by a lack of housing for farmers. In order to attract more farmers to farm, we need to provide decent housing on the farm."
     He testified, "We will never change our dependency on imported foods -never - if we don't let farmers lower their cost of living by allowing them to live on the land they farm."
     Stephen Shrader, wrote that "climate and lifestyle of Hawai`i encourages an indoor/outdoor lifestyle. It is also one of the best settings in the world to implement green building and energy efficient practices. Many farmers are wanting to down size the scale of their indoor living spaces, lower their cost for housing, be on farm to monitor their crops, lower farmworker rental housing and transportation/commute costs, spend more time farming and lower the environmental impact of their housing." He noted that he is a member  of the One Island movement, convening Tiny House Community Conversations around the Big Island.  See www.oneisland.org.

      The bill passed the state House of Representatives and is before the Senate on Wednesday for a third reading. For more testimony and to weigh in, see http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2&year=2017

Flumes that carried water in old sugar plantations are in the
photography preserved in Olson Trust archives.
SUGAR ARCHIVES ILLUMINATE HISTORY: The Value of Plantation-Era Archives in Today’s World is the topic at After Dark in the Park on Tuesday, April 18. From the 1850s to the 1990s, big sugar plantations dominated the agricultural landscape of Hawai‘i Island. The Edmund Olson Trust Archive is home to an extensive array of maps, records and documents from these plantations, and traces an powerful part of island history. John Cross, of Olson Trust, leads a visual journey through these irreplaceable historic resources and the era called “Big Sugar.” The free program begins at 7 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘I Volcanoes National Park.

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KUMULAU`AU – TREES is the featured category in the call to artists for the 2017 Hawai‘i Nei juried art competition celebrating the native flora and fauna of Hawai‘i Island. The annual exhibition is sponsored by Three Mountain Alliance, Natural Area Reserves System and Wailoa Center.    
Hawai`i Nei art contest brings artists to Ka`u to
the Kahuku Unit of hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
to observe the Ohi`a Lehua trees and such wildlife as this
`Io, Hawaiian hawk. Photo from HVNP 
     Amateur and professional artists of all ages are invited to submit works of art celebrating the native plants, animals and habitats of Hawai‘i Nei. A statement from the organizers says: “This year, artists can explore the foundation of the Big Island’s native forests. Trees are a crucial component of a healthy watershed. They often are referred to as kumu and even kupuna of the forest, being the base or trunk for multitudinous life but also teachers and grandparents.”
     Rules set by the organizers include: “Artwork in any medium or combination of media is welcome. Native species found only on other islands will not be accepted. All species found from ridge to reef on the Big Island are acceptable. Subjects from beyond the reef, including the deep ocean, will not be accepted. Artwork made from native species is strongly discouraged.”                      Submissions must be original, created in the past two years, not previously shown in any other exhibition, gallery or website.
     Artwork will be displayed from Nov. 3 to Dec. 15 at Wailoa Center. All residents of Hawai‘i Island are eligible to participate. All artwork must be registered online by Oct. 19 at www.hawaiineiartcontest.org. A photo of the artwork and entry fees are required with registration. Artwork drop-off dates, times and locations are 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Oct. 21 at Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa and 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Oct. 28 at Wailoa Center.  See  www.hawaiineiartcontest.org.

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Open Mic Night, Wed, April 5, from 6 – 10 p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp’s Lava Lounge in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Sign up at 967-8365 after 4 p.m.

Hawai‘i Wildlife Center Presentation, Thu, April 6, from  9 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. HWC representatives focus on the center’s history, mission and vision. Free; donations accepted.

Ocean View Neighborhood Watch meeting, Thu, April 6,  at 7 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-2442 & 928-2015

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