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Increase housing affordability via ‘skinny apartments’ bill

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on April 2, 2024.
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April 2, 2024, 2 p.m.
Hawaii State Capitol
Conference Room 329 and Videoconference

To: House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
      Rep. Mark Nakashima, Chair
      Rep. Jackson Sayama, Vice-Chair

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

RE: COMMENTS SUPPORTING HR120/HCR139 — REQUESTING THE STATE BUILDING CODE COUNCIL TO ADOPT, AMEND, OR UPDATE THE STATE BUILDING CODE TO AUTHORIZE POINT ACCESS BLOCK CONSTRUCTION FOR RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS UP TO SIX STORIES IN THE STATE.

Aloha Chair Nakashima, Vice-Chair Sayama and other members of the Committee,

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments in support of HR120/HCR139, which would request that the State Building Code Council allow “point access block” construction for residences up to six stories.

Stephen Smith, executive director of the Center for Building in North America, has documented that allowing these “skinny apartments” would slash land costs for builders[1] — one of the most significant cost components of construction in Hawaii.

New York City and Seattle both permit single-stair apartment buildings, as do numerous Asian and European countries. Hawaii should join their lead and take this proposed small step toward solving its housing crisis.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Ted Kefalas
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
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[1]Staircase proposal could be small step toward more housing,” Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Aug. 8, 2023.

 

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