Red tape hurts Maui housing
Hawaii Together with Keli’i Akina, April 27, 2021
Maui may see affordable housing stunted by a proposed law that would require 75% of 201H housing projects to be sold at below-market prices. Maui County Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura discusses with Grassroot Institute president Keli’i Akina the detrimental impact such a well-intentioned but wrong-headed policy might have on affordable housing.
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Maui housing bill wrong way to help working people, Sugimura says
From Grassroot Institute, April 29, 2021
The Maui County Council member voted against Bill 10, and would like to see Mayor Victorino's veto of the bill be allowed to stand
How to create more affordable housing on Maui was the topic of Keli'i Akina's latest "Hawaii Together" program on the ThinkTech Hawaii network.
Yuki Lei Sugimura, a five-year member of the Maui County Council, was the program's special guest. She spoke with Akina in particular about a proposed Maui ordinance, Bill 10, which would raise the county's 201H affordable housing program requirement from 50% to 75%.
The measure was vetoed last week Mayor Michael Victorino, who said it would only add another layer of regulation "that would further delay development of workforce housing and increase costs to residents."
Sugimura hailed him for that.
"I stand by the mayor for his veto," she said. "I tip my hat to him, because myself and others were the minority in terms of passing the bill. But I think that a word needs to be spoken, a loud voice, like the mayor's, to say that we support working families, that we think there's a better way of doing this, rather than increasing the affordable rate to 75%."
Asked if she expected her council colleagues to override the veto, she said, "Yeah. … Well, I don't want to speak for others, but, yeah."
She probably would be happy if they were to prove her wrong.
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Maui's housing future rests with Council, writes Hill in commentary for The Maui News
The Council can let Mayor Victorino's veto of Bill 10 stand, or overturn it and discourage future affordable housing
From Grassroot Institute
Institute Policy Director Malia Hill was emphatic in her commentary last Friday in The Maui News that a bill intended to increase affordable housing on Maui will have the opposite effect, if enacted by the Maui County Council.
According to Hill, Bill 10 would "change the rules for 201H affordable housing projects in the county. These are projects that get to take an expedited path through the state and county approval process because a certain percentage of the homes built in a 201H project are sold below market price to qualified buyers.
"Currently, the Maui requirement is that 50% of the homes in a 201H project must be set aside for affordable housing. The new bill would raise that percentage to 75%, giving Maui the second-highest inclusionary zoning requirement in the country behind three Mainland municipalities that have 100% affordable housing requirements … [all of which] saw housing growth decline by more than 60% after passing the new rule."
Bill 10 was approved by the Council 6-3, but vetoed by Mayor Michael Victorino. Now it's back before the Council, which ideally will let the veto stand.
Wrote Hill: "The 'fast track' approval process for 201H projects typically takes three to five years to navigate. Meanwhile, the standard 'slow track' can take 10 years or more. If you want to build affordable housing in less than a decade, you need the advantage of the fast-track process.
"But putting heavy restrictions on 201H projects means they’re too unprofitable for developers that aren’t getting money from the government or able to work at a loss. That shrinks the pool of developers willing to take on 201H projects. And that means housing growth will slow or stagnate."
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