One of the goals of the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program is to ensure that appropriate setbacks and protections are put into place to ensure appropriate development and structures along the coastal areas. Appropriate coastal development addresses the issues identified under the CZM Act, including coastal hazards (including sea level rise), historic resources, coastal ecosystems, and Hawai‘i’s economy for current and future generations. The most difficult issues to address are coastal development issues that stem from development that already exists. While great strides have been made, there are many structures “grandfathered” under old codes, and continued pressure from landowners for legislative exemptions from regulatory review. This pressure can be very contentious and stressful for county and state permitting agencies.
Benchmark- Where we are now 
  • The County of Kauaʻi is considering amendments to its Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, based on new sea level rise mapping.
  • There are unsettled legal issues regarding permits for shoreline armoring or other protections for existing threatened structures.
  • The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) has upgraded its Ocean Observation System, incorporating data layers that could assist inappropriate coastal development.
  • OP manages the Geographical Information System (GIS) layers for the State of Hawai ʻi, which can also assist in appropriate coastal development.

Target- Where we want to be 
  • Manage Retreat. Develop long-term planning and strategies to support managed retreat, which would include location-specific adaptation strategies such as retreat zones, prohibition of shoreline armoring, and assessment of impacts on underground infrastructure and utilities. Public and private property owners may be encouraged to relocate structures inland, with incentives that may include tax-based incentives and third-party acquisition of threatened parcels in fee or by easement.
  • Site Appropriately. Proposed projects/actions are evaluated during the land use entitlement process to determine the sufficiency of proposed adaptation measures and infrastructure durability over the lifetime of the project, taking into account individual and public economic impacts. This includes considering additional shoreline access, where appropriate.
  • Plan for Passive Survivability. Communities should be resilient to extended power outages, interruptions of fuel supply, or loss of water and sewer services.
  • Enhance Natural Infrastructure to Build Coastal Resilience. Cost-effective beach nourishment is implemented and streamlined for offshore permitting.
  • Allow Flexibility in Retrofitting Existing Structures. Allow for retrofitting of existing structures that also accounts for long-term conservation of coastal resources and shoreline ecosystems, including beaches and reefs.

Number of projects reviewed by DOH and/or OP during land use entitlement process that include coastal impact risk assessments

1590 projects reviewed by the Department of Health (DOH) and/or the Office of Planning (OP) that include risk assessments since the beginning of 2012.

Agencies: Department of Health and Office of Planning, Coastal Zone Management Program

Title Image: Flickr