Help Needed to Protect Historic Neighborhoods: Oppose HB830

5/8/15: The State Legislature voted to approve HB830 and will send it to Governor David Ige to approve or veto. The final version of the bill did not address the preservation community’s concerns to safeguard non-designated historic residences, and will inevitably lead to destruction or diminution of historic neighborhoods and districts across the Hawaiian Islands. Historic Hawai‘i Foundation is disturbed by this development, but is appreciative of all those who shared their comments in support of preservation during the legislative process.

4/23/15: The Hawaii state legislature is currently considering a measure to limit the applicability of the state historic preservation program by excluding residences from its protections, except for the limited number of properties that are designated on the register of historic places.

Please help save historic districts, neighborhoods and homes by contacting your representatives and asking them to oppose HB 830.

HB 830 will soon be considered by a Conference Committee to determine whether to proceed with this ill-advised legislation.

 

The House version of HB 830 would redefine “historic property” to exclude single-family residences, claiming that houses cannot and should not be considered historically significant unless they are among the small percentage designated on the state register of historic places. The intent is to eliminate these properties from the historic preservation review process through the fiction of saying they are not historically significant, regardless of their characteristics or inherent merit.

The Senate version of the bill would not affect the definition of historic property, but would insert a broad exemption from the state’s historic preservation review and comment process so it would no longer apply to dwelling units that are not on the historic register.

Historic Hawaii Foundation strongly disagrees with either version, and opposes the underlying attempt to exclude residences from the preservation protections and programs of the state:

  • The proposed exemption would treat one property type— single family detached dwelling units— differently than all other property types, which is arbitrary and capricious.
  • It would remove fair access to the state’s preservation program and its protection for historic properties based on factors unrelated to the inherent characteristics or merit of the property, thus unfairly excluding home owners from equal treatment under the law.
  • Excluding residential structures from the preservation program will inevitably lead to harm and destruction of these historic resources.
  • The character and fabric of the most intact and valuable neighborhoods across the Islands would be irreparably torn and damaged.

Instead, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation believes that any revisions to state law should focus on the issue of what constitutes appropriate project review. Exempting minor projects from the review process would both address the concerns about the burden on homeowners and provide more certainty for protection of historic properties, without unduly removing all protective measures from our historic communities.

Please contact your elected officials and ask them to oppose HB830 and protect Hawaii’s historic homes and neighborhoods.

Members of the conference committee are:

The text and status of HB 830 can be seen at:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=830&year=2015

The full list of legislators and their contact information is available at:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/members/legislators.aspx?chamber=all

 

2017-04-21T01:01:18+00:00 April 24th, 2015|Categories: Advocacy - Get Involved|