Bill 56 (2022), CD1: Expand permit exemptions for renovations and maintenance

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Honolulu City and County Council  on May 24, 2023.

May 24, 2023
9 a.m.
Honolulu City Council Chambers

To: Honolulu City and County Council, Committee on Zoning
      Councilmember Calvin Say, Chair
      Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Vice Chair

From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
           Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns 


Comments Only

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer comments on Bill 56 (2022), CD1, which would increase the dollar amounts of existing building permit exemptions.

Specifically, the bill would increase the annual valuation exemption for repairs or replacement of existing parts from $5,000 to $7,500; for certain electrical work from $500 to $2,500; and for certain plumbing work from $1,000 to $2,500.

The main reason for increasing these exemption valuations is so Oahu homeowners could more easily complete maintenance and renovations — since they no longer would have to wait unreasonable lengths of time to obtain their building permits.

The current permitting backlog is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that time spent waiting for a permit often equates to higher costs for labor and materials. 

For construction contractors and workers, the delays have meant a loss of business and a loss of jobs because their customers did not receive their building permits in a timely manner.

So the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii supports this bill. 

It also supports the two amendments being considered — one by Councilmember Calvin Say and the other by Councilmember Andria Tupola — that would increase the exemption for repairs or replacement of existing parts to $10,000.

Calvin Say’s conference draft amendment also would add an exemption for certain solar work, and that proposed exemption should be retained if his amendment is the one that moves forward.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments. Sincerely, 

Ted Kefalas

Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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