NOTICE OF FINDING OF NO SIGNFICANT IMPACT
NOTICE OF INTENT TO REQUEST RELEASE OF FUNDS
FOR TIERED PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS
Douglas Nam Le, AICP Disaster Recovery Officer
County of Hawaii, Planning Department
100 Pauahi Street, Suite 200
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone (808) 961-8174
These notices shall satisfy two separate but related procedural requirements for activities to be undertaken by the Hawaii County Planning Department.
NOTICE OF INTENT TO REQUEST RELEASE OF FUNDS
FOR TIERED PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS
On or after April 12th, the Hawaii County Planning Department will submit a request to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Honolulu Field Office for the release of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds under 24 CFR Part 570, of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, to undertake the following project:
Tier 1 Broad Review Project/Program Title: Kilauea Voluntary Housing Buyout Program (VHBP)
Purpose: To enable the County of Hawaii to acquire properties impacted by the 2018 Kilauea eruption, through voluntary sale by interested property owners.
Location: The properties are located within the Puna District, including but not limited to the following census block groups, 211.01 Block Groups 1 and 2, 211.06 Block Groups 2 and 4, as well as a portion of land affected by underground magma located off Highway 130 near the Iilewa Crater. This project area is generally bounded by Highway 130 to the west, Hawaiian Beaches subdivision to the north, and the coastline adjacent to the Pacific Ocean to the east and the south. The list of specific Tax Map Keys (TMKs) to be cleared in the Tier 1 environmental review process is pending eligibility, and can be verified upon request by HUD. Specific property TMK parcels to undergo site specific reviews (Tier 2) will also be unknown until property owners apply to the VHBP.
Project/Program Description: Kilauea volcano, located on the Island of Hawaii, erupted in May of 2018 and resulted in a lava flow covering approximately 8,500 acres. The community experienced additional impacts from associated earthquakes, heat, gases, and fires. Following the eruption and disaster declaration (DR 4366), the HUD allocated CDBG-DR funds to the County of Hawaii to address the disaster-related needs. As required by HUD, the County prepared a CDBG-DR Action Plan that outlined a Voluntary Housing Buyout Program as an activity to be implemented using Disaster Recovery funding. The project includes property acquisition as well as removal of any remaining structures or associated infrastructure including decommissioning of existing cesspools or other associated items on the properties. Properties where the proposed action is limited to property acquisition, and will not involve any removal of structures, will be cleared at the Tier 1 level review. The properties will be subsequently retained in perpetuity for a use that is compatible with open space, recreational, or floodplain and wetlands management practices. HUD funds will not be used within U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) lava flow zones for construction or any sort of rehabilitation work. The total cost for the proposed project is currently estimated to be at or around $90,000,00, but this amount may increase up to $107,561,000 of HUD CDBG-DR funds as more applications are received.
Tier 2 site specific reviews will be completed for those laws and authorities not addressed in the Tier 1 broad review for each parcel under this program when TMK parcels within the project area become known.
Level of Environmental Review Citation: 24 CFR Part 58, Section 58.36 (NEPA Environmental Assessment)
Tier 2 Site Specific Review: The site specific reviews will cover the following laws and authorities not addressed in the Tier 1 broad review:
The laws and authorities that will be included in the Tier 2 site specific review, and a summary of procedures that will be undertaken to address any issues that arise and implement any mitigation measures, conditions, or required permits follows. Detailed mitigation measures can be found in the Environmental Review Record.
Coastal Zone Management Act, Sections 307(c)&(d) If property with a structure to be removed is in the SMA and is either abutting the shoreline or designated historic on National or State registers, the County of Hawaii Planning Department will be consulted to determine if a SMA permit is required for the demolition work and acquire the necessary permit prior to removal of structure(s).
Contamination and Toxic Substance 24 CFR Part 50.3(i)&58.5(i)(2) Evaluate existing structures for any source of contamination or toxic substances. Abate and remove in accordance with County building codes and State Department of Health regulations. OSHA standards will be followed to protect workers during demolition.
Endangered Species Act of 1973, particularly section 7; 50 CFR Part 402 If there are any structures requiring demolition, vegetation removal, or ground disturbing activities, US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recommended avoidance and minimization measures will be employed prior to start of work. Avoidance measures include specific mitigations relating to the Hawaiian hoary bat, the Hawaiian goose, Hawaiian seabirds, Hawaiian waterbirds, Blackburn’s sphinx moth, and Threatened or Endangered plants.
Explosive and Flammable Hazards 24 CFR Part 51 Subpart C – if any above ground storage tanks (ASTs) or isolated and abandoned vehicles are found to be present on applicant parcels, they will be abated and removed.
Floodplain Management Executive Order 11988, particularly section 2(a); 24 CFR Part 55 – An 8-step review was completed in order to further evaluate and mitigate potential impacts for projects located within flood zones or wetlands as per EO 11988 and 11990. If an applicant parcel is located in or includes portions of floodplain areas, and if the parcels have structures present within floodplain areas within those parcels, any structures remaining that are not inundated by lava and are located within a flood zone will be characterized as “abandoned in place” or will be “100% demolished”. No existing homes that remain standing will be rehabilitated or reinhabited, and no new structures will be built on any of the land planned for acquisition under this project. Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as standard soil erosion and sediment control shall be implemented during demolition of structures as required by County building codes.
Historic Preservation National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, particularly sections 106 and 110; 36 CFR Part 800 – Mitigations will follow the measures laid out in the Procedural Programmatic Agreement (PPA), which was signed by both the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Responsible Entity. Through a consultation process, the County of Hawaii and the State Historic Preservation Officer agreed that the undertaking shall be implemented in accordance with the PPA stipulations in order to account for possible effects of the undertaking on historic properties. If historic properties are discovered during the demolition of structures or unanticipated effects on historic properties are found, the County of Hawaii shall consult with the State Historic Preservation Officer in developing a strategy for investigation and evaluation of the resource.
Wetland Protection Executive Order 11990 – An 8-step review was completed in order to further evaluate and mitigate potential impacts for projects located within flood zones or wetlands as per EO 11988 and 11990. If any wetlands are located on applicant parcels that include actions with ground disturbance, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will be consulted, and pertinent mitigation measures will be employed.
Soils – Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as standard soil erosion and sediment control shall be implemented during demolition of structures as required by County building codes.
Hazards and Nuisances including Site Safety and Noise Mitigation measures rely upon compliance by County of Hawaii contractors performing demolition work with all permit conditions, as well as mitigations to minimize temporary noise impacts and short term negative air quality impacts from fugitive dust or emissions.
FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT
The County of Hawaii has determined that the project will have no significant impact on the human environment. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is not required. Additional project information is contained in the Environmental Review Record (ERR) on file online at https://recovery.hawaiicounty.gov, at the Hawaii County Offices (100 Pauahi Street, Suite 200 Hilo, HI 96720), or on the HUD website at
Any individual, group, or agency may submit written comments on the ERR to Lindsay Moore at Lindsay.Moore@hawaiicounty.gov. All comments received by April 11th will be considered by the County of Hawaii prior to authorizing submission of a request for release of funds. Comments should specify which Notice they are addressing.
The County of Hawaii certifies to HUD that Douglas Nam Le, Certifying Officer, in his capacity as Disaster Recovery Officer consents to accept the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts if an action is brought to enforce responsibilities in relation to the environmental review process and that these responsibilities have been satisfied. HUD’s approval of the certification satisfies its responsibilities under NEPA and related laws and authorities and allows the County of Hawaii to use HUD program funds.
OBJECTIONS TO RELEASE OF FUNDS
HUD will accept objections to its release of fund and the County of Hawaii’s certification for a period of fifteen days following the anticipated submission date or its actual receipt of the request (whichever is later) only if they are on one of the following bases: (a) the certification was not executed by the Certifying Officer of the County of Hawaii; (b) the County of Hawaii has omitted a step or failed to make a decision or finding required by HUD regulations at 24 CFR part 58; (c) the grant recipient or other participants in the development process have committed funds, incurred costs or undertaken activities not authorized by 24 CFR Part 58 before approval of a release of funds by HUD; or (d) another Federal agency acting pursuant to 40 CFR Part 1504 has submitted a written finding that the project is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of environmental quality. Objections must be prepared and submitted in accordance with the required procedures (24 CFR Part 58, Sec. 58.76) and shall be addressed to the HUD Honolulu Field Office at 1132 Bishop Street, Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813-4918 and CPD_COVID-19OEE-HNL@hud.gov. Potential objectors should contact HUD to verify the actual last day of the objection period.
Douglas Nam Le, AICP Disaster Recovery Officer, Certifying Officer