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Sunday, July 23, 2023
July 23, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:54 PM :: 3028 Views

Study the Empty Homes Tax Again?

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted July 22, 2023

Housing regulations add $233,000 to $325,000 to the cost of building a home

SA: … Fewer than 1 in 3 households can afford a single-family home, fewer than 1 in 2 can afford a condominium, and 1 in 2 people cite housing costs as reason for leaving Hawaii.

Native Hawaiians are increasingly leaving our islands — with more now living on the mainland than in Hawaii — and they are twice as likely to be homeless if they stay, now making up 40% of our state’s homeless population.

We have the highest cost of living in the nation with the least affordable housing market, the highest median home prices, and the highest level of regulations.

According to a recent study, we need approximately 10,000 new homes per year to catch up with our housing deficit and start meeting demand, but only 4,000 new units on average are currently being built each year, and it takes three times longer in Hawaii to obtain building permits than the national average.

The result is that our housing regulations add $233,000 to $325,000 to the cost of buying a home in Hawaii.

(WRONG:  Housing regulations add $233,000 to $325,000 to the cost of BUILDING a home.  The cost of BUYING is set by supply and demand.)

This approach to housing in our state isn’t working, and we can’t continue like this.

We must change the way we do housing in Hawaii.

That’s why this past week I issued an Emergency Proclamation Relating to Housing, addressing our critical housing shortage by promoting the speedy and safe construction of public, low-income, affordable, workforce, and market-rate for-sale and rental units for Hawaii residents.

By suspending onerous regulations and streamlining approvals, we will shorten development timelines and increase the supply of units, meeting our demand and helping make housing more affordable…

Calles: The proclamation deserves our support. -- It reiterates the need to streamline the regulatory process, as recommended by 15 previous state and county studies going back 20 years, noting that said process adds nearly 25% to the cost of a housing unit.

Sierra Club: Housing order is a leap in the wrong direction 

Higa: Chance for sweeping and systemic change for housing

read … Housing action needed now against worsening crisis

Developers Emergency Proclamation Suspends Sunshine Law

CB: … Q: The governor has stressed transparency. He says this is going to be transparent, but the Sunshine Law, of course, will not be applied to the working group. How will the public be involved? How will we know what’s going on since we can’t actually be in those meetings?

Medeiros: We are still actually working on what public participation or observation and viewing is going to look like for the working group. We’re still working out those details and we’re definitely open to figuring out what that does look like. Do we televise on Zoom? Do we televise on YouTube?

The suspension of HRS Chapter 92 (the public agency meetings and records law) was more so to allow for its commissions, councils to move quicker, to have meetings more often without having to (give public) notice. Current law prohibits notice less than six days. The suspension would allow boards and commissions to meet with five days notice or less. Five, four, three, two, one.

Say, for example, a neighborhood board wanted to have a project that was coming up in their neighborhood, which they’ve heard might apply for consideration under the EP, and they put it on the agenda. But maybe they don’t finish a thorough enough discussion that they want for that project. Rather than having to wait for the next board meeting the following month, they can schedule another meeting within the next day or two. Continue that conversation, continue getting feedback.

Q: Is this also in part because you have just one year to pull this all together and time is of the essence to suspend 92?

Medeiros: Yes, it is. And it also it also addresses quorum issues. So sometimes our boards and commissions don’t have quorum. I experienced that myself personally on the boards I sit on in the capacity of working for the governor. We also know that our Island Burial Councils in particular don’t have quorum, a number of them currently. This will allow them to still meet, have fruitful discussions so you can get public input within the meetings of their own bodies….

SA Editorial: Housing crisis demands action or something

read … The Civil Beat Editorial Board Interview: Hawaii Housing Officials Nani Medeiros And Scott Glenn

Emergency? Green Copies Waihee’s Failed Playbook

Borreca: … Josh Green is the latest Hawaii governor to battle Hawaii’s decades-old housing crisis. In 1989, then-Gov. John Waihee signed off on the Hawaii Functional Plan for Housing, meaning 34 years ago the state came up with the plans for Hawaii’s affordable housing….

Since the time of Waihee targeting our housing woes, children have grown up, gone to college, gotten a good job and found that they couldn’t afford to live in Hawaii….

Waihee put up temporary villages to house homeless families….

The urgency of Hawaii’s problems has now increased so much that declaring an emergency has become an often-relied-on tool to deal with them.

Green’s predecessor, Gov. David Ige, declared that Hawaii was suffering an emergency 120 times during his eight years in office….

Green so far has declared five state emergencies regarding the homeless and one for housing. Green successfully campaigned on a promise to use the governor’s emergency powers to remove laws or other obstacles.

While it is too early to expect results, Green is already facing criticism from those who say the emergency powers give Green blanket control over all development in the state and discount the public’s ability to block objectionable housing.

Green expected criticism, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser report; at an earlier news appearance, Green showed off a T-shirt with “YIMBY”printed on it — meaning “Yes in My Backyard.”…

…development is so tricky in Hawaii … Gov. Green needs to devote much of every day to making it work….

read … Gov’s housing intents must align with neighborhoods

Suckers: Kakaako was also Sold to you as ‘Workforce Housing’

Shapiro: … This crunch has been in the making for decades. If state and county governments had faced it head-on, we could be getting it under control without such extreme measures as suspending laws.

Instead, elected leaders set lofty goals they never met and dithered in the face of conflicting demands from politically powerful interests. Our best chances to add affordable housing were squandered.

Kakaako, where the state once promised workforce housing, is instead mostly luxury condos far out of the range of the local workforce. The pricey developments attract outside speculators and help drive up Honolulu’s overall housing prices….

For a family of four, 140% of AMI is $182,840, way more than the middle-class workers we’re losing make.

One recent project tagged as affordable listed three-bedroom condos from $695,900 to $813,300, more than twice what Hawaii expatriates pay for bigger houses in low-tax states with better job opportunities.

A project like one near Ala Moana offering 826 market units and 146 affordable helps our problem little. Those who can afford market prices can generally find homes on the existing market….

read … Keep Packing your bags for Vegas

Pre-COVID rail data more concerning

SA: … Reporter Dan Nakaso seemed to suggest that the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii’s comparison of Skyline’s operating costs per passenger to other U.S. light-rail systems was flawed because “COVID-era 2020” data was used (“Now running, Honolulu Skyline’s operating costs in doubt,” Star-Advertiser, July 16).

But using 2019 data makes the comparison even more stark. In 2019, the next-highest per passenger cost — compared to Honolulu’s fiscal 2024 cost of $54 — was $15 in San Jose, versus $19 for 2020.

Long story short: The Skyline still has the highest per-passenger cost of any light-rail system in the U.S. — by far — and Hawaii taxpayers should still question why it is being operated when it is only half completed and so few people are using it….

read … Pre-COVID rail data more concerning

Trial Lawyer News: Congress members seek registry to track health effects of Red Hill

SA: … Members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation have introduced bipartisan legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to set up a new registry to track and collect health data from people (plaintiffs) who were exposed to tap water laced with jet fuel from the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility in 2021.

The Red Hill Health Impact Act also would require the federal agency to work with health experts to conduct a 20-year study to assess any long-term health effects on those (plaintiffs)  exposed to the contamination and work with other government agencies to identify any additional resources that may be available to affected families….

read … Congress members seek registry to track health effects of Red Hill

Hu Honua Reincarnated as ‘Green’ Hydrogen Scheme

IM: … The County of Hawaii released the permits issued by the Department of Public Works for June 2023.

They include five permits for Hu Honua: Boiler Building, Maintenance Building, Chipper Building, Chip Storage Building, and Turbine Building

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC and H2 Energy, LLC and signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2021 to develop Hydrogen Infrastructure in Hawaii.

That month, Mayor Roth wrote a supporting letter that Hu Honua filed with the Public Utilities Commission….

read … The Return of Hu Honua Bioenergy

City Distributes 1,700 ‘guns allowed’ posters

SA: … The city distributed 1,700 guns allowed posters at Honolulu Hale and eight satellite city halls. Although the city is not tracking how many of them were picked up, Waianae Satellite City Hall and Kapolei Hale saw the strongest demand for the posters, said Ian Scheuring, the city’s deputy director of communications.

The state law that took effect July 1 states that the owner, lessee, operator or manager of private property open to the public shall signify their express authorization for the carrying of firearms by “unambiguous written or verbal authorization; or the posting of clear and conspicuous signage at the entrance of the building or on the premises.” ….

read … City, state ‘public carry’ laws caught in the crosshairs

Enablers Re-Start Feeding Homeless Criminals in Waikiki

SA: … Blangiardi said he met with Akiona again last month and showed him pictures of people with long criminal histories who were attending the free lunch. He said he told Akiona, “Look, Father, I really think you need to suspend feeding them here on the street.”…

SA Column: Hungry in Waikiki: What would Jesus do?

Meanwhile: Downtown Honolulu landscape is shifting for workers, residents, shoppers and visitors

read … Keep Crime Alive

Encounter with an armed trespasser adds to growing concerns about Kalihi encampments

HNN: … Residents in a Kalihi neighborhood are worried for their safety because they’ve been dealing with a spate of trespassers.

And recently, one brandished a knife at a resident. The incident was all caught on camera.

Colin Watanabe, of Kalihi, confronted a man in a hoodie on Sunday for trespassing on his family’s property.

Watanabe said surveillance video showed the man hold up a knife and then walk away.

Watanabe said that same man has been walking through his driveway over the last month.

“You can be watering your plants or washing your car, and he’ll literally just walk on your property like nothing — like no cares in the world,” said Watanabe. “It never used to be like this.”

Neighbor Richard Zamora saw the knife incident unfold.

“You know, after you see a knife drawn, you don’t feel safe anymore,” said Zamora….

read … Encounter with an armed trespasser adds to growing concerns about Kalihi encampments





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