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Friday, February 9, 2024
February 9, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:20 PM :: 942 Views

Maui Fires: Green, Bissen Feds Six-Month Update

Guam Meth Kingpin Gets 30 Years

Hawaii 2nd-Worst State for Fatal Crashes Involving Unlicensed Drivers

'Spirit of Aloha' Hawaii Supreme Court gun ruling brings praise and ridicule

SB2392: Hawaii committee advances bill that could keep Trump off the ballot

Bill 21:  Emergency building permits for Maui Fire Survivors

SA: … Maui County Council members Thursday advanced a measure designed to broaden and streamline emergency building procedures in a move that aims to speed up construction approvals in the wake of the Aug. 8 wildfires.

Bill 21, approved 7-0 by the Council’s Water and Infrastructure Committee, would amend the Maui County Code to broaden the applicability of emergency- repair provisions and clarify the approval procedures for emergency-repair permits….

The legislation, submitted by the county’s Department of Public Works, is intended to help the rebuilding of housing, public facilities and businesses damaged or destroyed by the fires.

Approximately 1,100 residential properties would qualify under the bill’s expedited permitting process, according to the county’s Office of Recovery.

Currently, only the owners of single-family residential structures qualify for the expedited emergency procedures in disaster areas. Under Bill 21 the expedited procedures would be expanded to apartments and other multifamily structures, as well as commercial buildings and other categories….

Jordan Molina, Maui’s director of public works, said the county is in the process of hiring a consultant to handle what is expected to be a surge of emergency building permits in the coming months. The consultant, he said, will allow the current staff to continue to process an existing three- to six-month backlog of permit applications.

Molina said the consultant should be on board by April with a three-year contract. The biggest surge of applications, he said, is expected in the first two years…

The current emergency application allows electrical and plumbing permits to be consolidated with the building permit application to reduce the number of applications that a property owner must submit. Under Bill 21 the application also allows for the consolidations of driveway and grading permits and possibly others if needed….

Under the bill, owners of vacant lands within the disaster area also would be eligible to undertake construction of new structures….

Bill 21 would allow qualified applicants to bypass required reviews by other agencies, except when it is deemed necessary. It is considered necessary when applications involve commercial structures, lots with more than two dwellings and other situations where an agency determines that review is necessary.

Under the bill, once all required information is submitted, a property owner can request the department to approve their application if no action is taken on the application within 15 days. However, approvals may be withheld if disaster debris removal is not complete, essential services are not restored, an agency review is required or a land use approval is pending.

Permit fees also will be deferred until the structure is ready for final inspection.

Another provision allows owners who want to rebuild structures that were constructed within the previous five years to be reissued permits using the same construction plans that are on file….

Bill 21 also would apply to future disasters….

Bill 21: Text, Status

GRIH: Bill 21: Waive fees, expand eligible buildings under Maui emergency permitting policy

Aug 2023: Do Lahaina Property Owners Have the Right to Rebuild?

Oct 2023: Right to Rebuild? No Building Permits Issued Since Lahaina Fire

read … Bill would broaden, streamline emergency building permits on Maui 

Lahaina family excited to rebuild home after fire debris is cleared from property

HNN: … “When they called me, they said, ‘Mr. Medeiros, can we have permission to go on your property and clean?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ They said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘When?’ Now.’ I said, ‘Yeah! Can I come down?’ They said, ‘Yeah, you can come down. I’ll be there,’” the older Medeiros said.

Medeiros captured videos of crews clearing the debris from his home last week.

“They’re moving pretty fast. They’re moving pretty efficient,” said the younger Medeiros. “Let’s see if everything else can be efficient too.”

They are worried about infrastructure because they weren’t connected to the county’s sewer system since they had a cesspool.

The mayor said on Thursday that no one is moving back in until proper infrastructure is in place.

“We are still doing the assessment of the lines. The sewer as well as the water. So as long as it’s unsafe, we won’t be allowing people to go back into their properties,” said Bissen.

An U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said last week that dozens of properties have been cleared since January 16th and there are still hundreds left.

So, while the Mederios family waits, they are already visualizing how their new dream home will look….

read … Lahaina family excited to rebuild home after fire debris is cleared from property

After listening Tour, House GOP Champions ‘Common Sense’ Bills, Conservative Values

CB: … The minority caucus in the Hawaii House of Representatives tried something different this year when coming up with its priority bills for the 2024 session.

Reps. Lauren Matsumoto, Diamond Garcia, Elijah Pierick, David Alcos and Gene Ward hit the road for a listening tour of Oahu communities — Kaneohe, Kapolei, Mililani and Hawaii Kai. (All the current Republicans in the Legislature reside on Oahu.)

Instead of doing most of the talking, as can be the case at town halls, the five legislators conducted what Matsumoto calls a “live interactive survey” on what residents feel are the most important issues facing the state.

What the lawmakers heard directly influenced the legislation the caucus later crafted and introduced. It includes bills that have never gained traction in the past — eliminating the general excise tax on food and medical service and splitting the appointed school board into several elected boards.

Another measure would allow 12 weeks of paid family leave for state and county employees. Voters could also be asked to decide through constitutional amendment if state legislators should be limited to 12 years in office….

read … House GOP Champions ‘Common Sense’ Bills, Conservative Values

Unaffordable Affordables: Another $10M Subsidy for Black Sand, Kobayashi

SA: … A new state program to help middle-­income Hawaii households buy their first home is being used to subsidize sales of already subsidized affordable condominiums in a planned Honolulu high-rise.

The board of a state agency that helps finance affordable housing on Thursday approved using $2.4 million to help the developer of Kuilei Place in Moiliili sell 23 affordable condo units that were already reserved for middle-­income buyers at below-market prices but have gone unsold since a lottery in July.

Thursday’s approval represents the first use of a $10 million pilot program created by the state Legislature in 2023 after House Bill 677 became Act 92 and appropriated the taxpayer funding to the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp….

Kuilei Place is a planned 43-story tower complex with 1,005 condo units being developed by a partnership between local firms BlackSand Capital and Kobayashi Group called 2599 Kapiolani LLC….

The $10 million subsidy program, called the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund Equity Pilot Program, is authorized to provide initial subsidies until June 30, 2028.

read … State pilot program tapped for Kuilei Place units

Big Island Police Discipline: Exhibitionist and a Burglar

HTH: … One of the officers discharged for misconduct last year is Mark Kaili Jr.

Kaili, then 31, and a 27-year-old acquaintance, Cody Kanahele, allegedly entered a Naalehu home, both reportedly wearing masks, and assaulted a 20-year-old male resident who police identified as Kanahele’s cousin. During the altercation, the victim’s grandfather intervened and in the process unmasked one of the suspects, later identified as Kaili, who was off-duty during the alleged incident….

Kaili pleaded not guilty and has a court date scheduled for March 1. In addition, he has a grievance pending regarding his dismissal from the force.

The other officer discharged by HPD is Aaron Abalos, for allegedly committing a criminal act. He also was suspended for four days, the report states.

The alleged act isn’t specified in the report, and he has not been arrested or charged. According to the report, however, prosecutors have been notified about this case.

In a separate incident, Abalos is alleged to have exposed himself in public, for which he was suspended a day. Prosecutors weren’t notified.

Abalos is in binding arbitration — the final step of the grievance process — regarding both allegations….

read … ‘We have to continue to remain vigilant,’ chief says; HPD releases disciplinary report - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

HB1626: To Keep More Criminals on the Streets,  Shorten Probation Periods

CB: … It is estimated that more than 17,000 people in the state are on probation, according to the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative. That means that 17,000 people are required to report to a probation officer, are monitored and supervised, and in many cases are subjected to random drug testing….

House Bill 1626 which would have automatically cut probation time for probationers that were following the rules and abiding by the conditions of probation (whatever) ….

there is a consensus among activists and ‘scholars’ (CLUE: Redundant.) that mass incarceration hurts communities…

The House Committee deferred HB 1626…

(Fortunately, parole creates lots and lots of HGEA and UPW jobs.  Otherwise we would be doomed.)

CB: Senators Move To Cut The Pay Of The Top Staffer On Hawaii's Prison Oversight Commission - Honolulu Civil Beat

read … Ben Lowenthal: Many States Are Moving To Shorten Probation Periods. Hawaii Isn't One Of Them - Honolulu Civil Beat

As Always Intended: Waimanalo Gulch to be Extended

SA: … The Honolulu Planning Commission says it will soon decide on the city’s request for a two-year extension to find an alternate site for the 34-year-old Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Kapolei.

To help it arrive at a decision, the commission Wednesday heard final oral arguments on the request made by the city Department of Environmental Services in December 2022 to amend a special-use permit the state Land Use Commission granted to the city in 2019.

If approved, the prior deadline to identify an alternate landfill site would be extended to Dec. 31, 2024, from Dec. 31, 2022….

Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, which first opened in 1989, was originally slated to close eight years later, by 1997. The city now says the existing 200-acre dump is scheduled to close by 2028….

(Then they will extend it again.)

read … Planners mull extension to find new landfill site

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda: 

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