Monday, September 10, 2007

City and County of Honolulu to Propose Affordable Housing Ordinances

In Sunday's Star Bulletin, City and County of Honolulu Councilmembers Donovan Dela Cruz and Ann Kobayashi outline their wish-list of affordable housing policies for the City.

Under their second bullet point is a call to "[m]andate a higher percentage of affordable units for new residential developments seeking a zone change." The proposed mandate sounds like the type of affordable housing exactions imposed in Hawaii County and Maui County. The City's present housing policy requires a quantum of affordable housing, usually 20 percent, during the land use planning stages; for example, development plan amendments.

The City's current method provides flexibility for the City and landowners during the development process, where such things as the impact of a particular project on housing can be taken into consideration. However, if the new policy is like Hawaii or Maui's it will be more stringent. Those policies require mandatory set-asides of built affordable housing or land of up to 50 percent of a project at the zoning or subdivision stages.

While the City is in the process of proposing an ordinance, here are a few things landowners should look out for:

  • A nexus study prepared by the City. That study should show the impact of development on housing demand and supply in the City. Such a study is required under the U.S. Constitution before a government can take property by exaction.
  • The types of benefits under the proposed ordinance conveyed to landowners who must give private property to the government.
  • The ongoing federal case challenging Maui's Affodable Housing Policy.

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