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Commission Seeks Nominations for Open Space Purchases

The County of Hawai‘i Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) is inviting the public to propose properties that should be purchased and preserved for open space. Forms to suggest properties can be downloaded from the County of Hawai‘i website at:  http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/1/doc/64139/Electronic.aspx or by obtaining a form at the address below. Suggestion forms are due by June 30, 2014, and may be included in the commission’s annual prioritized list and report to the Mayor.

Hawaii County LogoCommissioners review the suggestion forms submitted by the public, and consider the significant factors of each property such as historic and culturally important features; opportunities for outdoor recreation and education; public access to beaches or mountains; preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty; protection of natural resources and watershed lands; potential partners for management; and the general benefits to the public.

Potential acquisitions are then prioritized and listed in a report that is sent to the Mayor at the end of each year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Hawai‘i County Council, which adopts resolutions to authorize property purchases. For more information on the process, go to:  http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/WebLink8/DocView.aspx?id=67307&dbid=1 

Past open space purchases total 1,249 acres, and include Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena and Pa‘o‘o oceanfront parcels in North Kohala; Kipapa Park (mauka of Magic Sands Beach Park in Kailua-Kona); property near Waipio Lookout in Hāmākua; and the newly acquired ‘O‘oma oceanfront parcel in North Kona.

PONC funds are derived from 2% of Hawai‘i County’s annual real property tax revenues.  The County has also been able to obtain more than $7.5 million in matching funds and donations from other sources to help purchase open space properties.  A Maintenance Fund has also been established to maintain properties that are acquired with PONC funds.

The nine PONC commissioners represent each of the nine County Council districts on Hawai‘i Island. To find out the commissioner for your district go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/WebLink8/DocView.aspx?id=67300&dbid=1  The Commission meets every other month at the Hilo County Building or the West Hawai’i Civic Center, and   public testimony is welcome.

If you need further information or are interested in becoming a commissioner, please contact Alexandra Kelepolo of the County of Hawai‘i Property Management Division, County Building on 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1101 at (808) 961-8069 or visit the website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/browse.aspx?dbid=1&startid=13770

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