Under HRS §§ 225M-1 and 225M-2(b), the Office of Planning reports directly to the Governor on substantive issues and to the director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism for “administrative purposes.”
The Office is comprised of professional planners and policy analysts led by the Director of Planning. The Office is divided into two divisions, the Land Use Division and the Planning Division. The Planning Division includes the Coastal Zone Management Program, Special Plans Branch, and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program. The Office is partially funded by state general funds and program specific federal funds.
The Office’s state statutory authority is derived from the following statues:
HRS Chapter 205, Land Use Commission. The purpose of this law is to “preserve, protect and encourage the development of the lands in the State for those uses to which they are best suited for the public welfare[.]” See L. 1961, c 187, § 1. The Commission is an independent board of nine members, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the senate, who make quasi-judicial determinations about what lands in the State of Hawaii should be placed into one of the four state land use districts: urban, rural, agricultural, and conservation. The Office of Planning is required to appear in every case as a party to make recommendations based on the criteria for boundary designations (HRS § 205-17). The Office also comments on petitions for special use permits and important agricultural lands designations.
HRS Chapter 205A, Coastal Zone Management. The purpose of this law is to “provide for the effective management, beneficial use, protection, and development of the coastal zone.” See L. 1977, c 188, § 1. The Office of Planning is the lead agency under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended. The Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. Among other things, the CZM Program provides guidance and funding to counties to support their administration of the special management area permitting process, prepares and updates the Ocean Resources Management Plan, administers the Coastal Estuarine and Land Conservation Program, and evaluates federal actions for CZM Act consistency.
HRS Chapter 225M, State Planning. This statute spells out the core functions of the Office of Planning. The Office is charged by the legislature with eight specific activities: (1) state comprehensive planning and program coordination, (2) strategic planning, (3) planning coordination and cooperation, (4) statewide planning and geographic information system (GIS), (5) land use planning, (6) coastal and ocean policy management, (7) regional planning and studies, and (8) regional, national, and international planning.
HRS Chapter 226, Hawaii State Planning Act. The purpose of this law is “to improve the planning process in this State, to increase the effectiveness of government and private actions, to improve coordination among different agencies and levels of government, to provide for wise use of Hawaii’s resources and to guide the future development of the State.” See HRS §226-1. Under the Act, the Office of Planning is charged with providing technical assistance in administering the Act (HRS § 226-53). The Hawaii State Planning Act was adopted in 1978 for the following purposes: (1) improve the planning process in the State, (2) increase the effectiveness of government and private actions, (3) improve coordination among different agencies and levels of government, (4) provide for wise use of Hawaii’s resources, and (5) guide the future development of the State. HRS Chapter 226 sets forth the Hawaii state plan, which (1) serves as a guide for the future long-range development of the State; (2) identifies the goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for the State; (3) provides a basis for determining priorities and allocating limited resources, such as public funds, services, human resources, land, energy, water, and other resources; (4) improves coordination of federal, state, and county plans, policies, programs, projects, and regulatory activities; and (5) establishes a system for plan formulation and program coordination to provide for an integration of all major state, and county activities.