Land Use Manual

An Introduction to Hawai’i’s Land Use Classification and Management System: a Manual for Residents (2008)

Click here to read the PDF version of the Manual.

One of the major challenges facing agriculture involves the availability of land. Often, speculators who price the land higher than agricultural producers can afford or are not willing to give long-term leases own rural lands. Agriculture does not return enough per acre to compete with commercial or residents land uses. Preserving agriculture and rural lands will remain challenges as long as this competitive disadvantage exits.

The HRDC partnered with the State Land Use Commission and the Office of State Planning in 2006 to facilitate county level planning meetings to gather input on agriculture and rural land use designations. While community stakeholders in many rural areas did engage in these land use discussions, the HRDC recognizes the long-term nature of this issue and therefore, obtained a grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation to develop materials to educate community stakeholders about the land use planning process. This will help ensure that community members are empowered to shape their community now and in the future.

Overview of this Manual 

Most of Section 1 provides an overview of Hawaii’s land classification and management system. Various aspects of the system are explained in greater detail throughout the remaining sections of the manual.

Section 2 outlines the legal and regulatory framework for land classification and management, including constitutional provisions, statutory provisions, and administrative rules.

Section 3 provides more detailed information about the key players involved in land classification and management in Hawaii, including duties related to land classification and management and contact information.

Sections 4 – 8 focus on five primary land use classification and management decision-making processes. Steps at which residents have an opportunity to become involved are indicated for each process. More detailed information on any of the processes may be obtained from the appropriate web page referenced in Section 3.


Deepening the dialogue about the issues facing Hawai‘i’s rural communities.

Engaging diverse stakeholders in the conversation about the future of our rural lands.

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