Advocacy – Get Involved

Mixed Results from Recent Legislative Action

8/15/15: Recent government action on historic preservation has been decidedly mixed. The results of the 2015 State Legislature saw some positive outcomes, but also an extremely harmful attack on the State’s preservation laws, while the City & County of Honolulu affirmed its preservation incentive program. Act 224 In the anti-preservation area, Governor David Ige signed HB830 into law on July 10, enacting it as Act 224. The Act creates an exemption from historic preservation review for proposed projects on privately-owned, single-family detached dwelling units or townhouses, unless they are listed on the register of historic places or located in a historic district. The exemption from HRS 6E-42 does not differentiate between dwellings and townhouses that have the inherent characteristics that mark historic properties (“eligible properties”) from those that have reached the age for consideration but otherwise lack historic merit (“non-eligible properties”). Historic Hawai‘i Foundation testified against the measure throughout the legislative session. The exemption treats one property type— single family detached dwelling units and townhouses —differently than all other property types, which is arbitrary and capricious. Act 224 removes 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 historic 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. Currently, the marker of 50 years of age provides a bright line for all property types, and further evaluation of a property’s significance, historic integrity and other elements of eligibility for the register of historic places occurs through the process outlined in Hawai‘i Administrative Rules. Properties that have the inherent [...]

August 24th, 2015|Categories: Advocacy - Get Involved|

Honolulu Council Considers Tax Increase on Historic Homes

Act Now to Protect the Property Tax Exemption for Historic Residential Properties Update 6/17/15: The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee decided to defer CB28 relating to the property tax exemption for historic residences. The council-members voiced support for preservation of our historic buildings and districts. Committee Chair Ann Kobayashi also acknowledged the ways that enforcement and compliance have improved since Council reviewed the program a few years ago. She noted that Historic Hawai‘i Foundation and a group of historic homeowners are willing to look at further improvements and suggestions. The committee decided to defer further action on the bill for now. Many thanks to all who submitted written testimony and attended the hearing. It was important for the council members to understand the concerns and issues, and also the importance of preserving historic neighborhoods and buildings. We will be following-up on possible recommendations and will look forward to working on this issue together in the near future. Update 6/11/15:  Honolulu City Council Budget Committee has scheduled a public hearing on CB28 for Wednesday, June 17 at 9 a.m. in Council Committee Room in Honolulu Hale. Update 5/13/15: Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee deferred action on CB28 at its special meeting on May 12. The bill will be held in committee without further action, which will leave the property tax exemption for registered historic residences unchanged. Mahalo nui to the preservation community and historic homeowners for providing testimony in opposition to the bill, and providing information to the council-members about why the heritage of Hawaii is important and should be supported. Council has the ability to revive a deferred bill at a later date; Historic Hawai‘i Foundation will continue to monitor it and will provide an update [...]

May 8th, 2015|Categories: Advocacy - Get Involved|

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 [...]

April 24th, 2015|Categories: Advocacy - Get Involved|

Draft Special Resource Study Identifies Honouliuli Internment Camp for Potential Inclusion in National Park System

Meetings Scheduled to Give the Public an Opportunity to Comment on the Report 5/8/14: The National Park Service today released a draft study proposing that Honouliuli Internment Camp, where Japanese and European American residents from Hawai‘i were incarcerated during World War II, be added to the National Park System as a National Historic Site or National Monument. “Telling all the major stories of our country’s history as fully as possible is an important part of the National Park Service’s mission,” stated Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “That includes not just the stories of which we’re proud, but those that cover less honorable chapters in America’s past.” The National Park Service currently manages three sites within the United States where Japanese Americans and others were incarcerated during World War II, but this would be the first in Hawai‘i. The Honouliuli study evaluates 17 sites that represent the stories and impacts of internment in Hawai‘i. While many of the sites are listed, or eligible to be listed, on the National Register of Historic Places, two stand out: the Honouliuli Internment Camp and the U.S. Immigration Station. The study finds that these two sites depict a distinct and important aspect of American history associated with civil rights in times of conflict that is not adequately represented or protected elsewhere, and are therefore suitable for inclusion in the National Park System. Of these, only the Honouliuli Internment Camp itself is determined to be a feasible addition to the system. Under the study’s preferred alternative a national historic site or national monument managed by the NPS would be established as a new unit of the National Park System. The national historic site or national monument would include the site [...]

May 9th, 2014|Categories: Advocacy - Get Involved|