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Friday, January 23, 2015
Affordable Housing and Car Sharing on Council Agenda
By Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine @ 10:02 AM :: 3764 Views :: Honolulu County

Housing and traffic solutions need your input

Message to Constituents from Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine, January 22, 2015

Two years ago, I outlined a vision to improve the quality of life for our Leeward families and residents throughout Oahu by improving affordable housing options for our communities, making government more efficient and improving transportation.

Holding a vision of a community built for all of our families has kept me focused on researching and developing new proposals to incentivize the construction of affordable housing. After several meetings with community advocates, economists, and affordable housing developers, I introduced Bills 79 and 80. Bill 79 would establish a city finance program to provide loans to affordable housing developers that are building projects for residents earning less than 80% of the area median income (AMI) – or less than $76,650 for a family of four.  Bill 80 would help affordable housing developers meet the overwhelming demand for affordable rentals by providing financial assistance to projects constructing rental units for families making 80% area median income or below. Together, these focused efforts will help affordable rental and ownership projects leverage their resources to get as many affordable homes built as we can.

As we incentivize affordable housing, we also need to ensure that when a builder completes a project or community improvement, those resources are made available to the public as soon as possible. Public resources such as Ocean Pointe Park and Kahiwelo Park in Makakilo sat idle and shut off from the public for months because of government inefficiency. Additionally, road and street improvements constructed by subdivision builders could not be serviced by city workers because the city didn't process its approvals in a timely manner.

In some cases, such as the roads in the Villages of Kapolei, the road approvals have not been processed in more than 10 years - since they were first built. These delays cause our community undue hardship and are a bad deal for our taxpayers, who deserve the best service from the City. To address this problem, I introduced Resolutions 15-9, 15-11 and 15-12, which request the city administration to clarify and coordinate efforts to accept dedications for park, street and sewer improvements respectively. The Council will host a public hearing on these three resolutions in February.

As we work to improve our service to you, we are also researching other ways to provide opportunities for improved transportation experiences in our city. One proposal we are currently reviewing with Bill 65 is car-sharing. Many of our community members would like to take public transit to work, but they may need a car to run errands during or after work. Council is currently debating the pros and cons of this car-sharing legislation, which would let the city sell licenses for some public metered parking spaces for these ‘shared’ cars to use.

Proponents of car-sharing programs say providing a mobility alternative for individuals and households, who do not need to drive to work every day, would reduce traffic congestion and save families money they would otherwise spend on gas and maintenance. Opponents are concerned that Bill 65 would limit public use of a limited supply of metered parking spaces. Both agree that the proposed program is designed to designated parking spots for car-share vehicles in business commute areas in our city. Recently, Bill 65 was deferred in the Budget Committee to allow for Councilmembers to elicit more input from their communities.

I welcome you to help shape our city’s future by joining in the public discussion on these important matters. Together we can move our city forward with innovative affordable housing programs, efficient government and improved transportation options for our residents.

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