Bill seeks mediation in land value disputes
A bill currently going through the state Legislature would require mediation be sought before arbitration in determining the sale price or lease rental of state lands.
Rep. Cindy Evans, one of the introducers of HB 1823, said she helped draft the bill after a group of people in the Hilo Industrial Park Area expressed concerns with the way the state handles land disputes regarding fair market value or fair market rental of public lands.
“They felt the current way didn’t give them a balanced approach,” she said. “People who do industrial leases are a small group of appraisers. If you pick an arbitrator, you’re picking an appraiser. Since they’re a small group of people, they have concerns that the appraiser or appraisal and the justification wasn’t right and should be adjusted.”
One of those outspoken residents was Jim McCully, a member of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area and local business owner.
He said the current process for settling a dispute is cumbersome, costly and inadequate.
“Hire your own appraiser, if the amounts are close together, sit down with a mediator and come to an agreement and don’t spend more money. Come to an agreement before we have to go to arbitration,” he said.
According to the bill, the purpose of the act is to authorize the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to provide for nonbinding mediation of disputes regarding the fair market value of public lands in transactions involving the purchase, lease or repurchase of the public lands and the fair market rental of public lands under lease when rentals are reopened.
“If they have a dispute, they should come to a mutual agreement by a third person that has an unbiased view,” Evans said. “Thought the process will engage both sides and mediate something before it goes farther, which costs money.”
The bill states:
“… Mediation is an effective method of resolving disputes and should be a method available to resolve disputes regarding fair market value or fair market rental of public lands in transactions involving the Board of Land and Natural Resources and private purchasers, owners, or leaseholders…”
Testimony from Honolulu-based group Citizens For Fair Valuation in favor of the bill states:
“On the other hand, mediators are trained to find common ground that builds upon and often strengthens the business relationship. It changes the mindset of the parties from winning at all costs to understanding the other parties’ issues in order to find a mutually acceptable position. Mediation is not only cost effective and efficient, it preserves and extends the relationship between lessor and lessees to their mutual benefit.”
The House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 19 recommended that the measure be passed. It’s going to the floor for a vote on Tuesday, and if it passes, it will move to the Senate.
Email Megan Moseley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.