Kent recommends applying lessons of Iniki to Lahaina

The subject of how cumbersome regulations are threatening the timely rebuilding of Lahaina after the devastating fires in August was among topics discussed by Joe Kent and radio host Rick Hamada on Thursday, Nov. 16, on KHVH NewsRadio 830.

“When the community is ready to rebuild, will they suddenly face a mountain of regulation standing in their way?” Kent asked. 

He said lessons should be learned from Kauai’s response to Hurricane Iniki in 1992, where the lifting of permitting requirements facilitated the quick rebuilding of thousands of homes. 

Better yet, Kent said permitting rules should be loosened permanently not only in Lahaina but across the whole island. 

Kent and Hamada also weighed in on Bill 6, recently passed by the Honolulu City Council. Kent called the new law “a silver bullet of a policy if I’ve ever seen one, except the bullet only applies to certain projects,” such as “certain affordable housing projects, or DHHL projects, or for certain commercial projects.”

Signed into law by Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Monday, Bill 6 would allow licensed architects to self-certify that building plans comply with codes and obtain a permit without going through the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. 

“This has been done for decades in New York and many other states on the mainland,” Kent said. “We’re just the only ones doing it the backward way. And that’s why it takes so long — six months to a year — in Hawaii.”

Also during the conversation, Kent talked about the Honolulu rail, the new Aloha Stadium project, and other topics. 

To hear the entire conversation, click on the image below.

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