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Hawaiʻi County General Plan 2040 Update Summary of Public Comment and Revised Timeline

by Thunda

The Planning Department appreciates the communities and stakeholders that were part of the robust public outreach in 2019 on the Hawaiʻi County General Plan 2040 Update. A variety of community engagement activities produced valuable input that is actively shaping the next draft. Later this year Planning Department will conduct another round of public workshops, and I urge residents and stakeholders to be a part of this critical planning process.  Hearing and listening to the many voices of our communities is integral to developing a General Plan that is reflective of the land use patterns which support a sustainable and thriving Hawaiʻi Island.  

Michael Yee
Planning Director

Outreach for Public Comment

The General Plan 2040 strives to position Hawai‘i Island for economic progress while preserving the environment and strengthening community foundations. Given this strategic importance, the Planning Department performed community outreach during August – October 2019 to solicit public comment. Members of the public and several governmental agencies submitted comments in writing, and in-person remarks were captured during the following events, which presented key messages on goals, policies and actions for each section of the plan.

 Speak-Out Events in large community venues (Hilo, Kona, Nāʻālehu and Waimea).
 Mini Speak-Out Events in smaller community venues (Captain Cook, Honoka‘a, Kailua-Kona, Kapaʻau, Panaewa, Pāhoa, Volcano Village and Waikoloa).
 Community Group Presentations to the Community Development Plan (CDP) Action Committees, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the Waimea Community Association, the Board of Water Supply, the Cultural Resource Commission, and the Environmental Management Commission.
 Topic-Focused Workshops to provide focus on Economic Development, Infrastructure, Land Use and Natural Resources (Hilo, Kailua-Kona).
 Coffee Hour Presentations to County and State governmental bodies.

Summary of Public Comment:

Section of Plan, (Total Comments/ Percent Prompting Revisions) Comment Themes
Introduction (47/100%) Clarify GP authority, the future of CDPs, and relationships between County plans; Provide rationale for policies containing “shall”

Natural Resource Planning (679/23%) Clarify County’s role in planning and management

Infrastructure Planning (775/27%) Align land use and infrastructure capacity; Add infrastructure maps;
Address deficiencies related to wastewater and solid waste

Economic and Opportunity Planning (648/44%) Address food planning, aging-in-place, and changes in tourism;
Identify locations of affordable housing

Community Placemaking (648/44%) Address deficiencies with historic preservation, access for disabled persons, and restricted access to unique resources; Add trail maps; Clarify service levels for parks, fire, police

Land Use Planning (759/100%) Align land use with infrastructure capacity and Kona CDP; Clarify definitions; Include hazards in land use mapping; Include rationale for land use designations, adding one for STVRs and revisiting Mahukona & Discovery Harbor

Implementation (149/98%) Prioritize CIP projects; Expand funding/financing options; Address GP/budget relationship; Clarify implementation time frames and agency roles

Miscellaneous (244/99%) Summarize what has changed from 2005 GP 

Revised Timeline of the General Plan Comprehensive Review

The original timeline envisioned completion of the comprehensive review by end of calendar year 2020. Four factors have extended the timeline of the General Plan comprehensive review: 1) Higher than expected volume of public comments; 2) Significant effort required to synchronize the General Plan with Kilauea Recovery planning and to update to the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan; 3) Re-deployment of some Long-Range Division staff to assist in processing Short-Term Vacation Rentals and resulting petitions to the Board of Appeals; and 4) Reduction in Long-Range Division staff capacity since March because of personal requirements for COVID-19 leave and transition to remote work.

The following target dates are set for the remaining steps of the formal adoption process:

 Public Workshops: December 2020/January 2021
 Planning Commission Hearings: June 2021
 County Council Hearings: September 2021

Updates to these target dates will be communicated on the General Plan website at

For more information contact the Planning Department, County of Hawai‘i 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 3; Hilo, HI 96720.  Phone: (808) 961-8288. 

Those interested in keeping current with upcoming events, progress, and process can sign up for General Plan eNews at

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