Open Space Commission Seeking Proposals regarding Properties to be Permanently Preserved

Do you know of a special property in Hawai‘i County that should be permanently preserved?  The County of Hawai‘i Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) encourages the public to propose properties that should be purchased. Forms to suggest properties can be downloaded from the County of Hawai‘i website at: 2018 Suggestion Forms (10-9-17)  or by obtaining a form at the address below. Suggestion forms are due by 4:30 p.m. on FEBRUARY 28, 2018.

Commissioners review the suggestion forms submitted by the public, and consider the significant factors of each property such as historic and culturally important features; opportunities for outdoor recreation and education; public access to beaches or mountains; preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty; protection of natural resources and watershed lands; potential partners for management; and the general benefits to the public. Potential acquisitions are then prioritized and listed in a report that is sent to the Mayor at the end of each year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Hawai‘i County Council, which adopts resolutions to authorize property purchases. For more information on the process, go to:  Hawai’i County Charter 10-15, 10-16, and Code, Article 42

Past open space purchases total 1,287 acres, and include Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena, Pa‘o‘o and Hāwī Banyan Trees property in North Kohala; Kīpapa Park, White Sands Mauka and ‘O‘oma in North Kona; property near Waipi‘o Lookout in Hāmākua; and the newly acquired Pohoiki Bay parcel in Puna.

PONC funds are derived from 2% of Hawai‘i County’s annual real property tax revenues.  The County has also been able to obtain more than $7.5 million in matching funds and donations from other sources to help purchase open space properties.  A Maintenance Fund has also been established to provide stewardship assistance to community organizations to maintain properties that are acquired with PONC funds.

The nine PONC commissioners represent each of the nine County Council districts on Hawai‘i Island. To find out the commissioner for your district go to: PONC Commission Fact Sheet.  The Commission meets every other month at the Hilo County Building or the West Hawai’i Civic Center, and public testimony is welcome.

If you need further information please contact: Maxine Cutler of the County of Hawai‘i Property Management Division, 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1101, Hilo, HI 96720 or call (808) 961-8069 or visit the website at: County of Hawai’i, PONC Commission Website.