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ThinkTech Hawaii: Owning Property in a Burn Zone (Talking Tax)

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Exploring Owner’s Rights or Lack Thereof. The hosts for this show are Mark Coleman and Tom Yamachika. The guest is Jonathan Helton.

These days, there is much talk in the news about rebuilding the burn zone that was once Lahaina. Can the former capital of the Kingdom of Hawai’i be restored to its former 1800’s glory? Should it be keeping a character as a picturesque but sleepy little fishing town? Obviously, government will have a large role to play in the rebuilding, but it must not forget that people already own parts of the place. Although some master planning and zoning will probably survive scrutiny, officials should not be going hog-wild with restrictions on new development or risk claims that private property has been taken.

One property owner, a longtime developer, after attending a community meeting about what is to happen in Lahaina, had some fundamental issues with the discussion. ‘We’re listening to these people talk about all their plans for the property — not their property — all the rules they wanted,’ he said. ‘It’s absurd, the socialist mentality, they think they own the land.’

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