F19-04Posted on Apr 24, 2019 in Formal Opinions
Opinion Ltr. No. F19-04
April 24, 2019
Appraisal Report for Possible Easement
Requester asked the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services of the City and County of Honolulu (City) (BFS) for a copy of an appraisal report prepared for it by the City Department of Design and Construction, which included market analysis and a value range, relating to an easement that Requester sought to purchase. BFS denied access to the appraisal report, arguing that it was created to provide the basis for BFS’s strategy in negotiating a purchase price for the requested easement and disclosure of the range of values in the appraisal report would frustrate BFS’s ability to achieve a fair purchase price for the easement. See HRS § 92F-13(3).
Although appraisal reports relating to the sale of an interest in county land are not made public by statute, as appraisal reports prepared for State of Hawaii (State) lands are, OIP could not logically conclude on the basis of that distinction that disclosure of appraisal reports would provide a manifestly unfair advantage to purchasers of interests in county land when disclosure of similar reports does not provide a manifestly unfair advantage to purchasers of interests in State lands. See HRS § 92F-13(3) (2012) (UIPA exception for records whose disclosure would frustrate a legitimate government function); HRS § 171-17(e) (Supp. 2018) (specifying that appraisal reports for State lands are public); OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-10 (concluding it would be illogical to distinguish effect of disclosure of appraisal reports prepared to set lease prices, made public by statute, from those prepared to set permit prices, not addressed by statute, and therefore no UIPA exception applied to either). Thus, OIP concluded that appraisal reports relating to the sale of an interest in county land do not fall under the UIPA’s exception for records whose disclosure would frustrate a legitimate government function and they must be publicly disclosed upon request under the UIPA.