As we make Freedom Of Information Act requests here at Civil Beat, we’ll be taking you along for the ride. All the requests we make are on your behalf, and you’ll get to share in the spoils. On April 29, I submitted a document request to the Hawaii Land Use Commission in an attempt to further understand how land use decisions are made.

In the request (pdf), I asked the LUC to provide me:

— A list of the total acreage in each of the four land use districts when the Land Use Commission was created in 1961 and those totals today; and

— A list of all petitions for boundary amendments since 1961, including: date; petitioner/owner; size of parcel; original district; proposed district; result of petition.

Before I could even start worrying about the commission meeting its 10-business-day deadline, some answers started rolling in. On May 3, I received the following documents via e-mail:

Historic land use boundary changes

Boundary Review History

Boundary Amendments 2006-2010

Acreage Changes 2006-2010

The key takeaway here is that the number of acres in the urban district has grown from 117,800 in 1964 to approximately 201,465 today. Those 80,000-plus acres, representing an increase of more than 70 percent, come at the expense of the agricultural and conservation districts.

As we discuss development proposals like the one at Koa Ridge — I’ll be exploring that 766-acre urbanization request later in the week — we should consider the long-term trends of land use districts.

I’m still waiting to hear back on the second half of my request — the full list of boundary petitions. When the response comes, I’ll post it here.

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