Bill 152 a welcome proposal to speed up Big Isle housing

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 April 30, 2024.

April 30, 2024, 2 p.m.
West Hawai’i Civic Center
Conference Room 225 and Videoconference

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

 From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
            Jonathan Helton, Policy Researcher


Aloha Chair Kierkiewicz, Vice-Chair Inaba and members of the Committee,

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its support for Bill 152, which would clarify the definition of multifamily housing and allow the Hawaii County Department of Public Works to issue preapproved model plans for multifamily housing — as it already does for single-family dwellings.

Bill 152 would be a positive step toward streamlining the permitting process for residential construction on Hawaii Island. By allowing for preapproved model plans for multi-family dwellings, it would reduce the need for plan reviews of projects that use these pre-vetted designs.

This could significantly cut down on permitting delays and costs for homebuilders, speeding up the delivery of much-needed housing for future owners and renters.

Pre-approved plans would be especially helpful to nonprofit and small-scale homebuilders, who often have limited capital to finance projects while waiting on plan approvals.

Finally, the bill would balance efficiency and safety by ensuring that the preapproved plans still meet all the county’s relevant building codes and safety standards.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Jonathan Helton
Policy researcher
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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