City proposes bill to waive most accessory dwelling unit permit fees
News Release from City and County of Honolulu March 28, 2016
Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration has introduced a bill that would waive certain fees for homeowners wishing to create an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), a move that could save up to $9,000 to $10,000 in application fees.
The bill (Bill 27) was drafted by the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) and submitted to the City Council for consideration. The measure, if approved, would waive all building permit, grading, and inspection fees, and wastewater facility charges, for a two-year period. It would also permanently waive park dedication requirements for ADUs. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) sets its fees through a separate rate process, but the BWS staff has agreed to work on similar incentives.
Caldwell hopes that the temporary fee waiver will encourage homeowners who are considering adding a second unit on their property, or converting part of an existing structure, to act now. The mayor is also challenging contractors and designers to come up with cost-effective designs and help owners take advantage of these time-limited incentives. ADUs are just one part of the mayor’s plan to provide affordable rental housing on Oahu.
“I think our building industry can use this opportunity to ramp up production with a few more incentives for homeowners,” Caldwell said. “It should work just like the incentives we provided a few years ago to get the solar PV industry kicked off.”
The DPP waived building permit fees for photovoltaic building permits in 2007 as an incentive to the PV industry and residents to install the energy saving systems. The waiver was a huge success and the number of PV permits skyrocketed over a five-year period. The waiver was discontinued in 2013, but the popularity of PV systems continues to grow.
Homeowners who applied for an ADU permit and have already paid the fees will be refunded the fees should this measure be approved and signed into law. Those seeking an after-the-fact building permit to convert an illegally constructed structure into a legal ADU will not be eligible for the fee waiver.