Can I Build A Home On Conservation Zoned Land?

BUILDING A HOME IN A CONSERVATION DISTRICT: YES OR NO?

Except for land that is also in the Special Management Area (SMA)…the Conservation District is solely under State jurisdiction. The Conservation District is further divided into four main subzones: Protective, Limited, Resource, and General. In terms of uses, the strictest is the Protective; the least strict is the General. There is also a ‘Special’ subzone that can accommodate unique projects”
CAN I BUILD A HOME ON CONSERVATION ZONED LAND?

The answer, maybe, patience and research s required. Depending on the property, there are many cases where the answer is: “Yes, if you have the patience to work through the approval process.”

OBTAINING APPROVAL FOR BUILDING A HOME ON CONSERVATION ZONED LAND

A suggested outline of the steps to take if you are investigating the possibility of building a residence on a parcel that falls under the Conservation guidelines:

Contact the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) in Honolulu to find out which “subzone” the property is in.

Before obtaining a building permit from Hawaii County you must complete a Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) from the DLNR. As part of the application process, you may be required to demonstrate compliance with regulations governing Special Management Areas (SMA) or to conduct an Environmental Impact Study (EIS).

Each island has a DLNR representative who sits on the panel that approves the CDU applications. Contact them in advance and ask if they would respond favorably to your plan. Establishing a good working relationship with your local representative will make things easier as the process unfolds.

If navigating the application process sounds like more than what you are up for, you can contact a professional planner who specializes in CDUA permitting.

Understanding going in that the approval process may be lengthy will be helpful in keeping your expectations realistic (it could take up to a year or possibly longer, depending on the property). But, it can be done.

If you are considering purchasing or selling land in Hawaii in a Conservation District or Special Management Area and would like to discuss the ins and outs of the requirements for obtaining a permit to build a residence on the land, please contact us for additional resources or to discuss available listings.

About the author: © Hawaii Real Estate Team