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Friday, September 14, 2018
Council Passes Bill 53--Calls for Demolition of Affordable Housing 'Monsters'
By Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine @ 2:43 PM :: 2988 Views :: Honolulu County, Development, Land Use, Cost of Living

Council Adopts Bill 53: New Fines and Demolition for ‘Bad Actor’ Builders of ‘Monster’ Homes and Illegal Structures

News Release from Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine, September 12, 2018

(HONOLULU) Today, by a vote of 5-1 (3 members absent), the Council adopted Bill 53, which will institute higher non-negotiable fines, and demolitions for companies that flout the law by building structures, like ‘monster’ homes, without first obtaining a building permit. The newly adopted bill was drafted by Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine, and saw support from a variety of community groups from across the island, and is meant to deter the most egregious violators.

If signed into law, the newly adopted fines will be the harshest penalties for illegal construction ever passed by the City. In addition to a one-time $10,000 fine, ‘bad actors’ that continue construction work after being issued a Stop Work Order for building without a building permit, will now be issued a minimum daily fine is $10,000 or ten-times the value of a building permit for the work, had a building permit been properly filed, and could have the structure demolished. More importantly, these fines cannot be negotiated to a lower amount, which had been the Caldwell Administration’s practice for years.

For Example:

- Illegal contractor begins to build a ‘monster’ home on a residential lot, without obtaining a building permit to do so.

- A Stop Work Order is issued by the Department of Planning and Permitting for failing to obtain a building permit prior to starting construction.

- If the illegal contractor ignores the Order and continues working, daily fines of at least $10,000 or ten-times the value of a building permit for the work, will begin to accrue until work stops. As many building permits for ‘monster’ homes and other large structures are routinely in the tens of thousands of dollars, a violator could easily face a minimum fine of $100,000 a day or more.

- These fines cannot be negotiated down, and must be paid.

“This bill provides the tools to help us punish egregious violators of our city’s building codes, include those that we’ve seen building entire buildings with questionable methods and densities, without a building permit.

“The Council was in agreement that we needed to do more to protect our neighborhoods and residents from these bad actors, illegal structures, and questionable building methods.

“High, non-negotiable fines, and the ability to demolish these structures will make any company think twice before they decide to flout the city’s laws and construct these structures without first obtaining a building permit,” said Councilmember Pine.    

The bill passed final reading and was adopted on September 12, and goes forward for Mayor Kirk Caldwell for signature. The Mayor has 10 days to review the bill. If the Mayor signs the bill, it will immediately become an ordinance. If the Mayor does not return it disapproved within 10 days, Bill 53 will take effect as if the Mayor had signed it.

Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine represents residents of District One (ʻEwa, ʻEwa Beach, Kapolei, Honokai Hale, Ko ʻOlina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, Makaha, Keaau, Makua) and is Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Zoning and Housing.

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Text, Status: Bill 53

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