Yesterday we discussed SB933 regarding leases, today we take a look at the last of the three bills involving the leasing of state land in Hawaii.
SB918 contains a large number of small edits to the Hawaii Statutes. All with one effect… Reducing the maximum length of a land lease to 35 rather than 55 years.
Most bills include extensive reasoning for the changes, why the changes are needed, and what the changes would accomplish. The text of SB918 gives no such supporting information. Why is this change needed?
The bill does offer the state one possible advantage. A shorter lease term would allow renegotiation of lease terms, such as rent, on a more regular basis. This may allow a better response to economic conditions. On the other hand, a properly negotiated commercial lease may include some adjustment, such as linking rents to a price index, that would allow adjustment without renegotiation of the lease. This is standard practice in many lease agreements.
There are no recent incidents where the lease duration has been of notable concern, with one glaring exception. We are left with only one possible conclusion… Again, there appears to be no reason for this bill beyond targeting Mauna Kea issues.
Senator Kahele is targeting the Mauna Kea Science Reserve master lease, attempting to limit the duration upon renewal. This master lease is shortly to undergo renegotiation. The University of Hawaii is currently preparing the EIS, which will probably be complete next year. Expect another round of lawsuits and protests as the master lease is contested.