Abolish ‘ohana dwelling’ permit in effort to spur more ADUs

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Hawai‘i County Council Committee on Planning, Land Use, and Development on July 8, 2024.

July 8, 2024, 9 a.m.
Hawai‘i County Building

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

From: Joe Kent, Executive Vice President
           Grassroot Institute of Hawaii


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

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its support for 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 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.

Joe Kent
Executive vice president
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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

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