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Monday, April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:08 PM :: 983 Views

Rolling Blackouts for Big Island--'due to lower wind, solar output'

Homicide up 175% in Honolulu

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted April 13, 2024

Got your Top Three? Secret Staffing Agency Helps State Retirees get Contract Work

Maui County Still Has No Plan to issue Lahaina Building permits—And Won’t have a Plan for Months to Come

CB: … Hearing continual frustration from Lahaina constituents about what they call a lack of clear direction from Maui County government on when they can rebuild their homes…

Maui officials last week announced the process for creating a much-anticipated, long-term recovery plan for Lahaina.

But that plan will take months to develop. In the meantime, on Tuesday evening, county officials plan to hold a public meeting with homeowners, which could provide answers. Officials are expected to inform the public about infrastructure, rebuilding, permitting and insurance.

Rep Elle Cochran (a former armed robber and drug addict) doesn’t hesitate when asked what she wants to hear from the county on Tuesday.

“That they’re going to set up a one-stop shop” for permitting, she says. “Boom: One-stop shop.

(CLUE: Ain’t gonna happen.)

The effect of delay, Cochran says, is enormous. Buildings can be rebuilt. But Cochran says delays and an information vacuum are causing people to leave Maui. And the experience of other disaster areas is that many residents who leave don’t return.

(CLUE: That’s the plan.)

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has estimated that 1,500 people have moved away from Maui County since the August fires. And the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization has reported that Maui County had lost more than 1,000 households as of February. Even the town’s Santa Claus has joined the exodus from Lahaina….

(CLUE: The plan is working already.)

Among those struggling to get information from the county is Jim Davis, a Lahaina resident who lost his home near Front Street. Davis said he understands some delays. Even though Army Corps of Engineers crews have cleared his lot, Davis said Corps crews and trucks are still in his neighborhood, so trying to get construction trucks in and out now doesn’t make sense.

But, he said, “the public is going to become less patient as time goes on, less understanding.

“Now that I’ve got an open patch of dirt it’s hard not to want to get in there and build.”

Davis says he’s fortunate. He and his wife found a home in Haiku, so they have a place to live. Davis also works from home as a computer animator and filmmaker, and he’s been able to raise enough money from insurance proceeds and a GoFundMe campaign to buy equipment to resume working. Finally, Davis says he and his wife bought the Lahaina house just five years ago, so unlike some of his neighbors, they’re not underinsured.

Davis has even lined up an architect, who is drawing plans for a new house with the same old-style plantation architecture as the old one.

But not knowing when they can build and move back means not knowing how much longer they’ll have to stay in Haiku — and how much of their insurance proceeds they’ll need to set aside for rent there, Davis said. Getting answers from county agencies can be nearly impossible, he said.

“I’ve got so many emails out to so many people just trying to get answers,” he said. “Every reply I’ve gotten is basically passing the buck.” …

Maui County’s process for creating a plan is similar to what Paradise, California, did after fires destroyed the town and killed 85 people in 2018. …

But there’s at least one difference between Paradise and Maui. Paradise completed its plan in seven months. Eight months after the fires, Maui County is just getting started.

Blystone indicated Maui expects to complete the report in the fall, more than a year after the fire’s first anniversary….

Rebuilding Lahaina will be complicated by its proximity to the ocean. Much of the burn zone, from Honoapiilani Highway to the ocean, is governed by the Coastal Zone Management Act, a federal environmental law that regulates building near coastlines. It is administered in Hawaii by the state and county governments under the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Act and county land use laws.

(REALITY: Zoning is State and County, not federal.  They are deceiving you.)

The law requires some landowners wishing to build in the designated zones to go through an elaborate process that may require a public hearing before the county can grant a building permit. For homeowners, the good news is that single-family homes may (KEY WORD: ‘may’ not ‘shall’) be excluded from the Special Management Area permit process, according to a citizens’ guide to the program published by the Hawaii Office of Planning and Sustainable Development….

(REALITY:  SMA can be suspended by emergency order.  They don’t want you to know this because the plan is to abolish Front Street.)

But commercial properties aren’t exempt, and many will face the bigger regulatory hurdles. …

But she said the word on the street is that properties on Front Street won’t be able to rebuild due to coastal zone laws and land use ordinances. Unfortunately, she and other business owners will have to wait to get more information from the county. While the county encourages homeowners to attend Tuesday’s meeting, the hearing notice says businesses are a different story.

“A separate meeting for commercial properties will be scheduled and announced in the near future,” the notice says….

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

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

read … Maui County Has Been So Slow To Come Up With A Plan To Help People Rebuild In Lahaina

What Causes Hawaii’s Brain Drain? Lack Of Good Jobs

CB: … A 2021 study by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism … summarizes: “A majority of responses noted moving for a new job or job transfer as the reason for moving. Over 13% of movers moved for housing reasons, but ‘cheaper housing’ was not a common response, even for those between the ages of 18-34 (though it had the fourth most responses).” Instead, “the types of jobs that are available on the mainland are drawing Hawaii-borns away from Hawaii.” 

For example, “[for] those earning STEM or NSF-defined science and engineering degrees, a higher percentage of Hawaii-borns living on the mainland are in STEM or science and engineering occupations, compared to Hawaii-borns who stay in Hawaii.” ….

read … What Causes Hawaii’s Brain Drain? Lack Of Good Jobs

Hawaiian Humane Society sees unprecedented number of shelter dogs due to families leaving Hawaii

HNN: … Shimabukuro said many families are giving up their animals because they can no longer afford them, cannot find housing that allows pets, or are leaving Hawaii and cannot take their pets with them ….

read … Hawaiian Humane Society sees unprecedented number of shelter dogs due to families leaving Hawaii

Honolulu Council Debates 100% Tax Hike on Short-Term Rental Owners

CB: … Last year, the council passed a bill that created a new category for transient vacation rentals. Now it must determine a rate for that category.

The proposal last year was the rate now used for the bed-and-breakfast category, $6.50 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

But now the council is considering a higher rate. The first $800,000 of assessed value would be charged $9.00 per $1,000 and anything over that would be charged $11.50. The owner of a $1 million house in this category, for example, would pay $9,500 in property taxes. 

“We were prepared for our taxes to double, but anything more than that seems punitive,” Paulin said….

SA: Regulation of vacation rentals varies among counties

read … Honolulu's Short-Term Rental Owners Will Pay Higher Property Taxes Soon.

SB2919 Vacation rental bill is headed to Conference Ctte

SA: … Keohokalole helped introduce Senate Bill 2919, which would do several things, including ensuring that each county has the power to regulate short-term rentals — including banning them. The measure also would rewrite state law that was successfully used against the City and County of Honolulu that limited its ability to crack down on vacation rentals….

SB2919: Text, Status

read … SB2919 Vacation rental bill is headed to uncertainty

Hawaii this Nov. deciding constitutional amendment regarding same-sex marriage

BP: … This year’s constitutional amendment was introduced as House Bill 2802 (HB 2802). On March 5, the House voted 43-6 to pass the amendment. Among the 45 House Democrats, 42 voted ‘Yes’, and one voted ‘No’. Among the six House Republicans, one voted ‘Yes’, and five voted ‘No’. The Senate voted 41-1 to pass the amendment on April 9. All 23 Senate Democrats voted ‘Yes’. Of the two Senate Republicans, one voted ‘Yes’ and one voted ‘No’….

HB2802: Text, Status

read … Hawaii will join California this Nov. in deciding constitutional amendments regarding same-sex marriage

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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