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Preapproved plans for multifamily housing would speed up homebuilding

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Hawaii County Council on June 5, 2024.
___________

June 5, 2024, 9 a.m.
Hawaiʻi County Building

To: Hawaii County Council
      Heather Kimball, Chair
      Holeka Goro Inaba, Vice-Chair

From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
           Jonathan Helton, Policy Researcher 

RE: Bill 152 — RELATING TO PRE-APPROVED PLANS FOR RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS

Aloha Chair Kierkiewicz, Vice-Chair Inaba and other Councilmembers,

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its support for Bill 152, Draft 1, 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 multifamily 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.

Preapproved 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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