Saving our homes. Preserving our land. Protecting our rights.
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Restrictions & Controls

If legislation is passed, the HCCC will be required to prepare a management plan for the area.  Permits and other activities in the area will need to be checked against the management plan for conformance to the recommendations, goals and guidelines of the plan.  This is currently what happens in Honolulu's Special Design Districts and has happened in other NHAs (see examples below).

In Special Design Districts advisory panels weigh in on design of new construction specifying design elements such as color of the building, recession of doorways, lighting, signage, etc.

If the NHA legislation is approved in its present form, it is conceivable that the City and County of Honolulu would be required to create a special design district comprised of the boundary of the NHA.

Below are a few examples from government studies (the GAO report), Heritage Area documents (the Workshop Report), NHA management plans, and quotes about other National Heritage Areas:

From the Delaware-Lehigh Corridor Management Action Plan emphasizing amendment of City planning documents, zoning ordinances to reflect NHA goals and guidelines:

 “In turn, local governments are asked to accept the Plan and its concepts through resolution, to collaborate in regional actions and to amend planning documents to reflect Corridor [NHA] goals.”

 “Implementation and Management Responsibilities of Partners

For Municipalities 

  • Adopt the [Management Action Plan] and its concepts through resolution.       
  • Amend comprehensive plans, recreation plans, subdivision ordinances, Act 357 water-quality plans, and zoning to reflect Corridor [NHA] goals and guidelines.

 For Counties                

         Adopt the [Management Action Plan] and its concepts  through resolution.

  • Amend comprehensive plans, recreation plans, Act 157 storm water management plans, and other county plans  to reflect Corridor [NHA] goals and guidelines.
  • Target county funds for acquisition and/or development of key sites in the Passage.


From the House Committee Report 109-294 (2005/2006) to amend the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Act of 2000 to adjust the boundary of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area and for other purposes:

"When the Yuma Crossing Heritage Area was authorized in 2000, the public in Yuma County did not understand the scope of the project and was surprised by the size of the designation...Furthermore,
many property owners were not aware that they were also included in the new designation. Concerns were raised by citizens about the size of the designation and the potential for additional Federal oversight. The fear of adverse impacts on private property rights were realized when local government agencies began to use the immense heritage area boundary to determine zoning restrictions."

From the National Heritage Areas Workshop Report, “Developing a Research Agenda”, 2002:

 “Measurements of Success were Suggested:

 …land use policy decisions, zoning law changes and decisions, and design of new construction could be used as measures of success.”

 From the 2004 General Accounting Office Report on National Heritage Areas:

 “…some management plans encourage local governments to implement land use policies that are consistent with the heritage areas’ plans and offer to aid their planning activities through matching grants.”  (p. 4)

 In Yuma, AZ, NHA:

"The community was told not to worry as the Heritage Act would not restrict other property owners' rights and would bring in federal funds...Almost immediately, Yuma citizens started to see restrictions -- from the type of building allowed to the color of paint...Even areas outside of the boundaries were affected...Others will try to use Heritage Area boundaries to limit property rights".
 - Harold Maxwell, "Lessons Learned from the Heritage Act", Tucson Citizen, Letters to the Editor, April 12, 2007

Note:  The Yuma, AZ, NHA was reduced from 22 square miles to 4 square miles (the originally proposed size) after a three year effort by Yuma citizens.  Because it is federal legislation, it took three years for community concerns to be addressed at the federal level of the United States Congress.

 In Augusta Canal, National Aviation and the Arabia Mountain Heritage Areas:

 “…the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area in Georgia was in its developmental stages in 1994. The National Park Service refused to accept the management plan put forth by Augusta Canal Authority until zoning regulations were made stricter.”
- Peyton Knight, Testimony before the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, 2003.

Both the National Aviation and the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area Acts specifically direct the management entity to “encourage local governments to adopt land use policies consistent with the management of the Heritage Area and the goals of the Management Plan.”

From a Representative to Congress:

“the late Representative Gerald Solomon (R-NY) strongly warned his colleagues against [a Heritage Areas Program]. In a letter dated September 19, 1994, Solomon wrote:

Property rights defenders have legitimate concerns about the provision in the bill requiring localities to obtain approval by the Secretary of Interior [f]or land use plans…”

Language from the legislation designating Hudson River Valley Heritage Area and Steel Industry American Heritage Act, 1996:

 Duties of the Management Entities---the management entities shall---

      (G) encourage local governments to adopt land use policies consistent with

            the management of the Heritage Area and the goals of the plan; 

From the NHA management plan for the National Coal Heritage Area:

       "Southern West Virginia counties, like rural areas across the United States, lack land use controls completely or
        else have controls that are weak or ineffective.  The visual landscape that results is often cluttered and
        frequently unattractive."

While managing groups in NHAs say that they do not manage land, the Congressional Research Service sees it a bit differently.  From the Congressional Research Service Report on Heritage Areas, 2006:

"[The managing group] typically develops and implements a plan for managing the NHA, in collaboration with other parties. Once approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the management plan becomes the blueprint for managing the area."

"[Some people] believe that some plans are overly prescriptive in regulating details of private property use (e.g., the species of trees that landowners can plant)."

(CRS Report for Congress, Heritage Areas:  Background, Proposals, and Current Issues, June 7, 2006). 

In Missouri:

"National Heritage Areas are a threat to property rights and local government.  If you own a business or residence in the designated area, you will be dealing with another layer of government that you have no control over.  You cannot vote them out or their program out.  They have plans for you whether you like it or not..."
- Beth Machens, Board of Aldermen, City of West Alton, Missouri

In Washington, D.C.:

"National Heritage Areas push us toward less government accountability.  Committees composed of unelected and unaccountable individuals -- some of whom have a financial stake in local land use decisions -- are given substantial influence over these very decisions through National Heritage Area designation."
- David Riedenour, Vice President, The National Center for Public Policy Research

In California, residents are opposing the proposed Sacramento San Joaquin Heritage Area:

"National Heritage Areas are yet another layer of appointed government, adding the NPS and the Secretary of the Interior to the mix, as whomever is the appointed Secretary of the Interior ultimately has control over final land use, etc. decisions.

Given ulterior motives and what is ultimately at stake in the Delta, this is a very bad concept at a very bad time.  This legislation usurps California law and the local process that should be driven by the local people, for the local people and with the local people.  We don't need 'federal' designations to know our historic and economic value."
-Karen M., Walnut Grove, comment in the online petition to stop the proposed Sacramento San Joaquin NHA

About Illinois:

"NHAs pose a threat to private property rights if restric¬tive federal zoning is enforced. This type of zoning may severely limit the extent to which property owners can develop or use their property. Also, the rules can change at any time." [emphasis added] - Joyce Morrison, "Are National Heritage Areas Good for Us?".

Specific examples of restrictions discussed in a Hawaii NHA:

 One neighborhood board member in Liliha asked two questions:

  1. Who gets the money?  (Answer:the HCCC). 

  2. If I want to do something with my property that conflicts with your plan, would you (the  HCCC) be able to weigh in?  (Answer: yes).

The HCCC Feasibility Study of 2008 lists areas (on page 118) that have not yet been listed and regulated and talks of surveying and documenting all of the areas below.

  • Chinatown (listed and regulated)

  • Kalihi (not surveyed)

  • Palama (not surveyed)

  • Liliha (not surveyed)

  • Kapalama (not surveyed)

  • Kaka’ako (not surveyed)







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