February 19, 2020, 5:00 PM HST (Updated February 19, 2020, 4:26 PM)
If you own ag land in Hawai‘i and want to build a greenhouse or expand an existing one, you may soon have your chance.
A bill expanding the permitting exemption for greenhouse construction on agricultural land passed its third reading in the House of Representatives Tuesday.
HB 2192 HD1, introduced by Representative David Tarnas (North Kona, South Kohala, North Kohala), proposes to increase the maximum area, from 20,000 to 60,000 square feet, for each agricultural shade cloth structure, cold frame or greenhouse that is qualified for an exemption from building permit and building code requirements.
“This bill supports Hawai’i’s local food production and sustainability goals by making it easier for local farmers to build modern greenhouses without having to go through a lengthy and costly permitting process,” said Rep. Tarnas.
HB 2192 received public support from the Department of Agriculture, Hawai’i County Councilman Tim Richards, Hawai’i Farm Bureau, Ulupono Initiative, Hawai’i Farming LLC, Big Island Produce Asset Holdings LLC and Hawai’i Aquaculture & Aquaponics Association.
Testifiers in support of HB 2192 stated that the bill is necessary to support local producers to make farming more profitable and productive across Hawai’i.
“We believe that opening the door to new investments in agricultural infrastructure will directly support more local food production and an economically robust homegrown agriculture industry, which strengthens our community with fresh, healthy food,” said Amy Hennessey, Senior Vice President of Communications and External Affairs at Ulupono Initiative.