Hawaii Governor Josh Green and his administration are looking to acquire land in Lahaina that saw destruction by the recent wildfires in the region. That is according to an announcement by the governor on Monday.
Speaking outside some of the debris from the fires, Governor Green says “I’m already thinking of ways for the state to acquire that land so that we can put it into workforce housing, to put it back into families, or make it open spaces in perpetuity as a memorial.”
“We want this to be something we remember after the pain passes as a magic place. 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, but we don’t want this to become a clear space where then people from overseas just come and decide they’re gonna take it. The state will take it and preserve it first.”Hawaii Governor Josh Green
In a separate press conference, Green reiterates his commitment to making sure the land is safe for residents to keep. He says that he spoke with the Hawaiian attorney general regarding “options to do a moratorium on any sales of properties” that did not survive the destruction.
“It’s going to be a very long time before any growth or housing can be built, so you will be pretty poorly informed if you try to steal land from our people and then build here,” he said. “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.”
Hundreds of residents of Lahaina have lost their lives, and thousands have lost their homes over the past few days due to the immense wildfires. Crews are still searching for survivors amongst the rubble.