EA: Voluntary Housing Buyout Program will have no significant impact

An environmental assessment for Hawaii County’s Voluntary Housing Buyout Program has determined that the project will have no significant impact on the environment.

The county published a “Tier 1” environmental review for the buyout program on March 27 as part of a multi-stage assessment of the federally funded project, which allows owners of land impacted by the 2018 Kilauea eruption to have the county buy their property from them for up to $230,000.

The Tier 1 review examined the general project area in lower Puna. A future Tier 2 assessment will look at specific lots once those sites that have been granted a buyout have been identified.

According to a county statement, a public comment period on the Tier 1 review will extend until April 11.

After that period ends, the county will request the release of money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — which awarded the project $107 million in Community Development Block Grant funds — to proceed with the acquisition of eligible properties, after which the Tier 2 review will be conducted.

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