HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu City Council is tasked with overhauling the county’s land use laws. The last time a change like this happened was 30 years ago.

But, some of the proposed changes are raising concerns in the community, especially for those with horses and other livestock on their properties. 

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Sandy Van found her happy place in a piece of country land in Waianae. It is enough space for her and her five horses. But, under proposed changes to the City’s land use ordinance, the less than two-acre lot would not be big enough to house them. 

Van said, “Most of these horses were born here on the place; so, I cannot imagine not having them with me.”

Owners of horses, cattle and other farm animals are questioning a small section about raising livestock in the more than 230-page document.

The proposed land use ordinance would not permit livestock in country-zoned land, and raising animals in agriculture zoning in a confined indoor or outdoor area such as stalls should have a lot of at least three acres. 

Van said there has never been an issue with her horses on her property but is now worried the possible changes would impact her negatively. 

Van said, “Suddenly, this bill came up saying, ‘no, you can’t have horses because you only have 1.8 acres; you don’t have three acres.’ There’s no logic to it.”

Van said she bought the land in Waianae for the sole purpose of having her horses in her backyard. 

Councilmember Andria Tupola will be holding a town hall next week about agriculture zoning. There could still be many changes to the proposed land use ordinance in the coming months as the City Bill remains under review. 

Meanwhile, Vice Council Chair Esther Kiaaina broke up the massive bill into different hearings in hopes to help the public understand the proposed changes. 

Kiaaina said, “I, myself, was overwhelmed by the complexity of all of the various uses in one document. What we are trying to do is to continue that dialogue by separating the various uses per hearing.”

Van said her daughter-in-law also raises poultry on country-zoned land. Alex Van said they have chickens to produce their own eggs. But, the bill proposes only to allow hens and no roosters; the number of hens would be dependent on the lot size. 

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Alex Van said, “like we do every spring, we incubate eggs to hatch out each year to have more eggs for that year without having a rooster. We wouldn’t be able to do that.”

A Planning and the Economy committee hearing on April 6 will focus on commercial zoning.