Thursday, January 3, 2008

Honolulu City Council Proposes Affordable Housing Bill

On January 8, 2008, the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning Committee will consider Resolution 07-274, which would assign to the Director of Planning and Permitting and the Planning Commission a proposed Bill relating to affordable housing (attached to the Resolution as Exhibit “A”).

Requirements and Triggers. The proposed bill would require landowners to provide 30 percent affordable housing in zone changes that would permit the development of 10 or more dwelling units. The affordable housing requirement would be triggered by zone changes applied for after the effective date of the proposed bill. An affordable housing agreement must be entered into prior to the issuance of building permits or if the builder is seeking a density bonus under the bill, prior to consolidation/subdivision.

How satisfied. In lieu fees will not be permitted as a substitute for housing. Units may be sold in fee or rented, and must be located at the development site. Credits may be applied at the development site or within 7.5 miles of the development site.

Incentives. Unlike affordable housing measures adopted by other Counties in Hawaii, this ordinance provides real incentives with regard to the affordable units including the following: exemption from plan review fees, deferral of wastewater system facility charges, density bonuses, reduced off-street parking requirements, priority processing, and credits excess units.

Waiver or adjustment. In addition, a landowner may seek a waiver to all or some of the requirements if he can show that for his particular project, an unlawful taking of private property without just compensation would result. The director may review the landowner’s request and grant a waiver, or the developer may request a contested case hearing.

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