Maui, Kaua’i, Vote for Open Space (HI)

HONOLULU, 11/9/02 – In Tuesday’s elections, voters in Maui and Kaua’i Counties passed Charter Amendments mandating that a portion of annual property tax revenues be placed in special Funds for the protection of open space, natural and cultural resources and the preservation of public access to lands.

These local open space funding measures are the first ever passed at the ballot box in Hawaii.

“We are thrilled at the level of support the Maui community has placed in the permanent protection of our precious open space landscapes. It is one of the most visionary investments we can make in our children’s future,” says Maui Coastal Land Trust Executive Director Dale Bonar.

73% of Maui County voters supported a minimum of one percent property tax set aside to establish an Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources and Scenic Views Preservation Fund. In Kauai County an identical 73% of voters supported a similar amendment to set aside ? of one percent of property tax revenues for a Public Access, Open Space, Natural Resources Preservation Fund.

“This vote shows a commitment on the part of county leaders and the community at large to protect open space and preserve public access to important lands”, says Gary Hooser, who on November 5th was elected to the state Senate. As a Kaua’i County Council member, Hooser cosponsored with Council member Ron Kouchi, the bill which placed the Public Access and Open Space Charter Amendment on the 2002 ballot.

The Maui County Charter Commission placed an Open Space Charter Amendment on that county’s ballot with the strong support of the Mayor and County Council members. The Maui measure is expected to set aside just over $1million in funding for open space this year. Kaua’i County expects to see approximately $250,000 set aside for open space and public access.

“Maui and Kaua’i County voters are not alone in their overwhelming support of dedicated funding for open space protection,” notes Teresa McHugh, project manager for The Trust For Public Land’s (TPL) Hawaiian Islands Field Office. “On November 5th, voters in 79 communities across 22 states passed ballot measures to create approximately $2.6 billion in dedicated public funding to protect land for parks and open space.”

A complete list of results from local and state balloting on conservation and parks is available on-line today from Land Vote 2002 – – a partnership of TPL and the Land Trust Alliance. The results of Tuesday’s votes will also be published as a report in early 2003.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, beaches, open space, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. In Hawaii, TPL’s Honolulu office, founded in 1996, has helped acquire and publicly protect important resources on O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i, Moloka’i and Hawai’i islands. TPL’s Conservation Finance Program provides technical and policy assistance to communities and states seeking to create or increase public funding for opens space acquisition and parks creation. TPL’s website at highlights TPL’s work in the Hawaiian islands.