I’ve previously mentioned the many things a REALTOR® is asked. One of the questions I receive regularly is whether or not a property can be subdivided. While some REALTORS® know some of the rules, it’s not an issue that’s necessarily in our wheelhouse. Here are some things to consider. There’s much, much more, of course.
What is the General Plan?
Start with the County of Hawaii General Plan (“The Plan”). Our General Plan is the document which is the “blueprint that guides the long-term growth of Hawai’i Island”. Incorporated into “The Plan” are local district plans but the General Plan really attempts to consider growth related to the Island in its entirety. After all, things like transportation, water resources, emergency services, and the like are not restricted to only one district.
Within “The Plan” are various maps that show State Land Use and County zoning. The subject property must be consistent with “the Plan” or subdivision dreams quickly become much more complicated. A zoning change is a lengthy process, especially if not consistent with State Land Use. Other things to consider are water availability, wastewater, size of the subdivision, flooding and power to name a few. Larger subdivisions trigger more requirements. I’m telling you; this stuff is complicated.
Is Subdividing Possible?
I have been honored to represent the seller of a large tract of land in Ka’u. With over 70 parcels, a few are quite large. On the surface, subdividing seems very possible. Enter the next complication. County and State approvals require no further subdivision. This has been incorporated into the covenants, conditions and restrictions which isn’t part of the General Plan but is certainly a limiting document.
On a different twist, I also have a seller wishing to subdivide their 14-acre parcel into 2 parcels. The zoning is Ag 10. While the inconsistent zoning would seem to be an automatic disqualifier, there is a physical feature related to the property that should allow the subdivision to move forward. Had we not looked closely and asked questions, this opportunity may not have been revealed. Our General Plan goes back to the 1950s when each district had its own independent plan. Interestingly, Ka’u did not have a plan. Our last iteration was approved in 2005. According to County Code, a General Plan review must begin by the 10th anniversary and be completed by the 13th anniversary. If you wish to be part of the process, go to www.cohplanning.koneio.com. After all, it’s never too early to be part of the process! If not, don’t come back and blame the General!