Civil Beat Corrects Articles on Rail Land Ownership

Two Civil Beat articles on land ownership near Honolulu's proposed 20-mile elevated rail line gave the erroneous impression that Aloun Farms stood to gain financially from land it owns along the route.

Aloun Farms holds leases on farm land along the route, but does not own the land outright, known as fee simple ownership. Alec Sou told Civil Beat that the leases are short-term. He said Aloun's holdings on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands land are down to about 70 acres from more than 400, and that its 300 acres on UH-West Oahu land will be down to 40 acres in December. It still leases nearly 1,100 acres from D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, but will have to renegotiate that before the lease expires in the summer of 2013.

The error occurred because of Civil Beat's confusion over the definition of ownership used by Hawaii Information Service, which produced the data that was the basis for the articles.

Hawaii Information Service defined ownership as either fee simple or leasehold ownership. Fee simple ownership means ownership of an entire property. Leasehold ownership means a buyer owns the right to use land for a certain period, at the end of which the rights to the land and improvements revert to the lessor.

The error was brought to our attention by an astute reader, an example of the self-correcting dimension of the Web.

Civil Beat regrets the error. The two articles have been updated.

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