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.

Layers added to the statewide GIS that address coastal measures

The Statewide GIS Program leads a multi-agency effort to establish, promote, and coordinate the use of GIS technology among Hawai‘i State Government agencies. By standardizing data, the GIS program seeks to provide a cohesive foundation for government decision-making. The program also provides a platform for agencies to communicate their stewardship responsibilities to the public. For example, DLNR-DAR has utilized the various resources available as part of the State’s GIS Enterprise License Agreement to develop and publish an interactive web application, the Marine Managed Areas Explorer.

The Statewide GIS Program offers over 300 data layers, as well as satellite imagery and historic maps. However, the program is not limited to data strictly concerning the ocean. Terrestrial decisions such as land use, density, and zoning influence coastal health. Because the Program offers GIS data that represents conditions from mauka to makai, all Statewide GIS Program data layers are considered coastal in the graph below. 

In addition, as of October 2017 the Statewide GIS Program is working with the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism – Hawai‘i State Energy Office, to update their web based Renewable Energy Mapping platform. Renewable EnerGIS provides analysis on renewable energy sites, including offshore energy potential. The updated tool is projected to launch by December 2017.

To download GIS Data or explore interactive web mapping applications, such as the Hawai‘i Special Management Area (SMA) Locator Tool, visit the GIS Program website or the new Statewide GIS Open Data Portal, from which one can find both data and mapping applications from a variety of state agencies.

Agency: Office of Planning, Geographic Information Systems Program

Image: Statewide GIS Open Data Portal

Title Image: Flickr