Project Purpose

The City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) is identifying and mapping lands on O‘ahu that meet the statutory requirements for consideration as IAL. Preparation of the IAL maps complies with State law—Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 205—which mandates that each county will map lands within their jurisdiction to be recommended to the State Land Use Commission for IAL designation.

Through the identification of IAL, the City will articulate its long-term vision of high-quality farm lands that are to be protected from future development for productive agricultural use. In addition, the City will provide policy guidance for a long-standing issue concerning the quality of lands that make up the existing inventory of lands in the State Agricultural District (since not all the land in the State Agricultural District is suitable for farming).

Hawai‘i’s land use system provides a framework for statewide land use management. All lands in the State are classified into one of four state land use districts (Urban, Rural, Agricultural, or Conservation), with specific land uses allowable in each district. The State Agricultural District is generally comprised of:

  • Farmland suitable for crops, pasture or forestry
  • Federally-owned land that is not available for agricultural production, and
  • Land that does not have the qualities necessary to be classified as one of the other land use districts but may be suitable for recreational uses (parks, golf courses) and open space.

Working within the State’s land use regulatory framework, IAL is a special State land use classification for an exclusive sub-set of high-quality farm land within the State Agricultural District. Administered by the State Land Use Commission, IAL overlays existing State and county land use classifications (i.e., state land use districts, county zoning districts) without changing the classifications or affecting the range of current allowable land uses. In addition to regulatory protections that make IALs more difficult to reclassify or urbanize, lands that receive the IAL designation are granted access to financial incentives that make farming more viable. Such incentives, which address the high cost of farming and the profitability of farmers on IAL, currently include the ability to construct on-site farm dwellings and employee housing, income tax credits for agricultural costs, financing opportunities, loan guarantees, and expedited state-level permitting for agricultural processing facilities.