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Kamehameha Schools petitions to designate 9,592 acres on O‘ahu as Important Agricultural Lands

In December, Kamehameha Schools submitted a petition to the state Land Use Commission requesting that 9,592 acres of its agriculture-zoned lands on O‘ahu be designated as Important Agricultural Lands.

Kamehameha Schools is seeking IAL designation of 421 acres in Punalu‘u and 9,171 acres on the North Shore. It has also designated surrounding non-IAL lands in both areas for expanded or new processing facilities, value-added opportunities and farmer’s markets to support farmers in getting their produce to the local market.

“The lands we’ve submitted for designation are prime, high-priority areas for agricultural production,” said Sydney Keli‘ipule‘ole, director of the Land Assets Division, which has kuleana for agriculture at Kamehameha Schools. “Over the last decade we’ve invested $12 million on irrigation systems to provide farmers in both areas with immediate access to water. This designation is consistent with our statewide Strategic Agricultural Plan and regional plans for both areas.”

Important Agricultural Lands (IAL) legislation was passed in 2005 for the purpose of protecting agricultural lands from urbanization and promoting the retention of these lands for agricultural production and use.

The law also created incentives to encourage landowners to have their lands designated as IAL. Kamehameha Schools, however, has waived its right to the land reclassification incentive – which allows for expedited reclassification of other KS agricultural-zoned lands not designated IAL to rural, urban or conservation.

“We chose to waive our land reclassification rights because our goal is to increase food production on Kamehameha Schools’ lands for Hawai‘i’s  local market,” said Keli’ipule’ole. “The intent of the law is consistent with our agricultural values and desire to kōkua the self-sustainability movement for the pae ‘āina (islands).”

About Kamehameha Schools

Kamehameha Schools is a private, educational, charitable trust founded and endowed by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Kamehameha Schools operates a statewide educational system enrolling over 6,900 students of Hawaiian ancestry at K-12 campuses on O`ahu, Maui and Hawai`i and 30 preschool sites statewide. Over 40,400 additional Hawaiian learners and caregivers are served each year through a range of other Kamehameha Schools’ outreach programs, community collaborations and financial aid opportunities in Hawai`i and across the continental United States. Income generated from its Hawai‘i real estate and portfolio of diverse financial investments fund 96% of the Schools’ educational mission.