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Bill 123: Redefine ohana units as ADUs, remove barriers for permitting

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Hawaii County Council Policy Committee on Planning, Land Use and Development on Jan. 23, 2024.
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Jan. 23, 2024, 1 p.m.

To: Ashley Kierkiewicz, Chair
     Holeka Inaba, Vice-Chair
     Hawaii County Council, Policy Committee on Planning, Land Use and Development

From: Jonathan Helton, policy researcher
           Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

RE: Bill 123 — RELATING TO OHANA DWELLING UNITS

Comments only

Aloha Chair Kierkiewicz, Vice-Chair Inaba and Councilmembers,

Thank you for considering Bill 123, which would abolish the “ohana dwelling” permit, redefine ohana dwellings as “accessory dwelling units” and make changes to where and how such units are allowed to be built.

Importantly, Bill 123 would abolish the existing duplicative approval process that requires someone interested in building an ADU to get a specific ADU permit before applying for their building permit — even if the ADU would be allowed by the zoning and would have adequate water and wastewater access.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii pointed out in a recent policy brief, “How to facilitate more homebuilding in Hawaii,” that: “ADUs might not be right for everyone, but they are easier to build and less expensive than a brand new, full-size single-family home or duplex, and are a convenient way to house older or younger family members and build intergenerational wealth for the primary homeowners.”[1]

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Jonathan Helton
Policy researcher
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
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[1]  Jonathan Helton, “How to facilitate more homebuilding in Hawaii,” Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, December 2023, p. 15.

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