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Testimony on SB3176: Yes to allowing fourplex housing

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.
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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

Comments Only

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.

Sincerely,

Joe Kent
Executive Vice President, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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