The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration on Feb. 3, 2022, by the Senate Committee on Housing and the Senate Committee on Government Operations.
To: Senate Committee on Housing
Sen. Stanley Chang, Chair
Sen. Dru Mamo Kanuha, Vice Chair
Senate Committee on Government Operations
Sen. Sharon Y. Moriwaki, Chair
Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Vice Chair
From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Joe Kent, Executive Vice President
RE: SB3176 — RELATING TO ZONING
Dear Chair and Committee Members:
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SB3176, which would allow Hawaii’s counties to adopt rules for the construction of fourplex dwellings on any land zoned for residential use where single-family dwelling units are permitted.
We commend the Legislature for considering new ways to help address the state housing crisis. It is easy to focus solely on new building projects and overlook how useful it would be to remove zoning restrictions that hamper creative solutions to the lack of affordable housing.
The Grassroot Institute has issued two publications that analyze how zoning and other regulations throttle the growth of housing.
One was our policy report “Reform the Hawaii LUC to encourage more housing,” which advocates giving the counties more authority to make decisions, thus reducing the amount of bureaucracy in development and preventing the LUC from becoming a de facto state zoning commission.
In addition, we published a zoning reform toolkit, “How to Build Affordable, Thriving Neighborhoods,” which explores different ways to increase housing supply and improve affordability by reforming state and local zoning restrictions.
We summarized many proposals from the toolkit in a commentary published in The Maui News, ”50 ways — at least — to update Maui’s zoning code.”
By creating a statutory path to allow for the creation of fourplex dwellings, this bill would be a positive step toward addressing the state housing shortage.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.
Executive Vice President, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii