Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) wants to enact a moratorium on property transactions in Lahaina, the Maui-based city destroyed by wildfires last week.
Green revealed on Monday that he asked Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez (D) to explore legal maneuvers to suspend "any sales of properties that have been damaged or destroyed" by the wildfires in Lahaina.
According to Green, his motivation for such action is to prevent Maui residents from being "victimized" by out-of-state people (or companies) seeking to grab up land at a reduced price.
"My intention from start to finish is to make sure that no one is victimized from a land grab," Green said on Wednesday. "People are right now traumatized. Please do not approach them with an offer to buy their land. Do not approach their families saying they'll be much better off if they make a deal. Because we’re not going to allow it."
But, at the same time, Green is exploring how the state can grab up some of that precious land, some of which he would like to use for "workforce housing."
Green said this week:
I'm already thinking about ways for the state to acquire that land, so that we can put it into workforce housing, to put it back into families, or to make it open spaces in perpetuity as a memorial to people who were lost. We want this to be something that we remember, after the pain passes, as a magic place. And Lahaina will rebuild. The tragedy right now is the loss of life. The buildings can be rebuilt over time; even the Banyan tree may survive.
The realities of the scene on Front Street in Lahainawww.youtube.com
Last month, Green issued an emergency housing proclamation, which, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat, "suspends several state and county laws" to expedite housing development.
Now, he plans to use the crisis to control the fire-ravaged land.
"Much of what we do is challenged by other laws, federal and otherwise, that don’t let us restrict who can buy in our state. ... But we can do it deliberately during a crisis, and that's what we're doing," he said, according to the Civil Beat. "And so for my part I will try to allow no one from outside our state to buy any land until we get through this crisis and decide what Lahaina should be in the future."
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