The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Honolulu City and County Council on June 7, 2023.
June 7, 2023
Honolulu City Council Chambers
To: Honolulu City and County Council
Councilmember Tommy Waters, Chair
Councilmember Esther Kiaʻāina, Vice Chair
From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns
RE: BILL 56 (2022), CD2 — RELATING TO PERMITS REQUIRED
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer comments on Bill 56 (2022), CD2, 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 $10,000; 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 stands at 209 days and 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.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
 “Update from the Department of Planning and Permitting on Building Permit Process Backlog,” Honolulu City Council, May 25, 2023.