The County of Hawaiʻi’s General Plan is the policy document for the long range comprehensive development of the island of Hawaiʻi. The purposes of the general plan are to:
- Guide the pattern of future development in this County based on long-term goals;
- Identify the visions, values, and priorities important to the people of this County;
- Provide the framework for regulatory decisions, capital improvement priorities, acquisition strategies, and other pertinent government programs within the County organization and coordinated with State and Federal programs.
- Improve the physical environment of the County as a setting for human activities; to make it more functional, beautiful, healthful, interesting, and efficient.
- Promote and safeguard the public interest and the interest of the County as a whole.
- Facilitate the democratic determination of community policies concerning the utilization of its natural, man-made, and human resources.
- Effect political and technical coordination in community improvement and development.
- Inject long-range considerations into the determination of short-range actions and implementation.
The current Hawaiʻi County General Plan was adopted by ordinance in February 2005. The drafting process of the plan took several years and involved several levels of public involvement. The overarching goal of the plan is to guide future development in a way that fosters healthy community vison and values.
The plan is broken up into several sections based upon distinct, but often inter-related topics. Many of the goals and policies discussed in the plan represent broad, island-wide matters, however these are sometimes broken down further by district. Policies within the plan speak to specific actions through which larger overarching goals may be met. Because the plan was adopted by ordinance, these policies may have important implications to short-term operations and development efforts.
The table of contents of the plan breaks down what the major topics areas are:
Describes the human, capital, and natural resources used to produce goods and services for consumption in local and overseas markets.
Describes the energy situation for the County and explains the incentive for promoting energy conservation and the development of indigenous energy resources including solar, wind, hydrologic, and geothermal.
Identifies the factors affecting the island’s environmental quality and describes the precautions and safeguards necessary to maintain and improve the quality of the environment for the physical, psychological, and social wellbeing of residents and visitors.
Flooding and Other Natural Hazards
Pertains to the conservation and protection of life, improvements, and natural resources from excess runoff due to either man-made improvements, natural causes, or inundation from tsunamis and heavy seas.
Identifies sites and buildings of historical and cultural importance.
Identifies areas of unique natural beauty that are a principal asset of the island, and encourages programs for their conservation, preservation, and integration with other elements.
Natural Resource and Shoreline
Describes the valuable and often irreplaceable natural assets of the island and encourages programs for their proper management and protection.
Addresses the requirements for and the quantity, quality, and distribution of housing units in the County. This element also addresses critical housing problems of the County.
Pertains to the location and distribution of facilities for education, public safety, social, health services and other government operations.
Describes the distribution of power, light, and water; the collection and disposal of solid waste and sewage; and the provision of other communication utilities that are essential to the efficient functioning of a community.
Examines the requirements of the County for active and passive outdoor activities, cultural events and pastimes, as well as attendant facilities and areas.
Describes the requirements for air and water transport terminal facilities linking the County with the rest of the State and overseas areas, and the island’s network of streets, highways, and roads.
Studies the relationship of human activities to the uses of land and the location, spatial relationship, and topography. This element is subdivided into the following designations according to uses:
- Agricultural: Encompasses all types of agricultural endeavors and specified industrial uses, residential and ancillary community and public and accessory uses.
- Commercial: Comprised of industries in the retail trade and service categories and certain non-noxious enterprises from other industrial classifications.
- Industrial: Includes uses that may not be compatible with commercial areas (such as manufacturing and processing, wholesaling, large storage and transportation facilities, power plants, and government baseyards) as well as other industrial, manufacturing, or wholesaling uses.
- Multiple Residential: Includes duplexes, apartments, town houses and similar types of residential structures and ancillary community and public uses.
- Open Space: Includes conservation lands, forest and water reserves, natural and scientific preserves, and potential natural hazard areas.
- Public Lands: Includes Federal, State, County, and University owned lands.
- Resort: Consists primarily of areas with basic amenities and attributes that attract developments of visitor accommodations and related facilities.
- Single-Family Residential: Consists of single-family detached houses and ancillary community and public uses.
General Plan studies in the County of Hawaiʻi were initiated in the late 1950’s and were limited to particular regions of the island such as the Hilo, Kona, Kohala, Hamakua, and Puna Districts. As such, these initial general plans lacked a comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated overview of the entire County. The first of these studies, “A Plan for Kona”, was completed in 1960 and encompassed the districts of North and South Kona. “A Plan for the Metropolitan Area of Hilo” was completed in 1961 for the districts of South Hilo and Puna. “The Kohala-Hamakua Region General Plan” was completed in 1963 and covered part of the district of North Kona and the districts of North and South Kohala, Hamakua and North Hilo. These regional plans were adopted by Ordinance No. 317 in July 1965, as the General Plan for the County. The district of Ka’u was the only area in the County not covered by this plan.
With the adoption and ratification of the County Charter in 1968, the General Plan emerged as a major policy document. The first General Plan document to be completed after the ratification of the County Charter in 1968 was adopted by ordinance on December 15, 1971 by the County Council. Upon adoption of the General Plan in 1971, the Council laid the foundation for establishing a comprehensive planning program for the County of Hawaiʻi.
Hawaiʻi County Code states that a comprehensive review shall be initiated not more than ten years after the date of adoption of the previous amendments resulting from a comprehensive review and submitted to the County Council not more than thirteen years after the date of adoption of the previous amendments resulting from a comprehensive review.
The Long Range Division of the Planning Department is currently working on this project. Please visit the Comprehensive Review page and sign up for our Mailing List to be the first to know about upcoming meetings and events for information and input.
The General Plan Land Use Pattern Allocation Guide (LUPAG) Map indicates the general location of various land uses in relation to each other.
The methodology used to develop the land use pattern reflects estimates of future population based on economic and employment evaluations, existing land uses and zoned areas, determination of community facility needs, and transportation demands for theentire island. The topography and other physical features of each area were also analyzed, and other factors, particularly economic, social, and physical characteristics, were noted.
Community Development Plans were created to translate broad General Plan statements to specific actions as they apply to specific geographical areas. Every plan is drafted through an extensive community outreach process, in order to try to best reflect the values of each specific community. Today, every district on the island is represented by a Community Development Plan.
Please go to our Community Development Plan website to learn more about the community meetings happening in your area. There are always opportunities to be involved and have your voice heard. Attending these meetings or keeping up with what is posted online is the best way to keep up to date on current community planning events. CDP meetings are often also a forum for presentations and updates about the General Plan from time to time.
Inquires about the General Plan Comprehensive Review may be directed to our Long Range Planning team at (808) 961-8288 or GeneralPlan@hawaiicounty.gov.