Hoffmann reflects on council terms, accomplishments


HILO — Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann can tick off a number of accomplishments during his eight-year tenure, but he’s had his share of regrets, as well.

Hoffmann, along with North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago, Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong, Ka‘u Councilwoman Brittany Smart, Hilo Councilman Donald Ikeda and Puna Councilman Fred Blas, will attend his last meeting as a council member on Monday, a largely ceremonial day, as the council marks its post-election transition to a new two-year session.

Hoffmann lists land-use reform, limits on plastic bags, a hand-held cellphone ban while driving, free bus service and the establishment of energy and agriculture commissions as some of the top achievements of his office during his tenure.

“All of these things are beginnings,” Hoffmann said, adding he hopes the new council will help carry these projects forward.

Free bus service lasted a few years, but Mayor Billy Kenoi, faced with a growing deficit, two years ago implemented a $1 fare in order to help balance the budget. Kupuna, the disabled and keiki continue to be able to ride free, however.

His biggest regret, Hoffmann said, was the failure of the council to abolish the current fair share system of developer contributions to infrastructure in favor of an easy-to-understand, easy-to-implement impact fee process.

“This administration and successive councils have failed to step up to the plate on this issue,” he said.

The broad category of land-use issues encompasses a myriad of separate pieces of legislation, as well as some more recent initiatives.

Early in his tenure, Hoffmann was able to add action committees to the newly instituted Community Development Plan process. This allows the community to continue having input after the CDP steering committees’ work is done, he said.

He was also able to put into place what he thinks are the first county concurrency rules in the state. Concurrency requires infrastructure, such as roads and parks, be put into place in anticipation of increased population brought on by development.

Two projects begun later in his tenure Hoffmann hopes will be embraced by the incoming County Council.

A study into the process of creating a Planned Unit Development has pointed to areas in need of reform he said, as has a recently completed study of the county’s system of appraising property for tax purposes.

After a career in the Pentagon and now a full eight-year stint on the council, Hoffmann, 71, isn’t about to, as he puts it, “sit at home and watch the grass grow.”

So, what’s next?

“My wife has told me I must find a paying job,” Hoffmann said.