Dawn Takeuchi Apuna appointed director designate of City’s Department of Planning and Permitting
News Release from City and County of Honolulu, Dec 1, 2022
HONOLULU – Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Thursday proudly announced the appointment of Dawn Takeuchi Apuna as the director designate of the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP), effective immediately.
Takeuchi Apuna has served as the acting director of DPP since early September, leading the department through the launch of several high-profile initiatives, including new short-term vacation rental enforcement efforts and significant technological improvements to the department’s permit processing capabilities.
“Having worked extensively with Dawn for nearly the past two years in her role as deputy director of DPP, I have seen firsthand her exceptional decision making and problem solving skills,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “Dawn has a complete grasp of the enormity of the challenge facing her and her team at DPP, and I have every confidence she possesses the vision, grit and determination to create the best path forward as we look toward unprecedented improvement in this critical component of City operations.”
As director designate, Takeuchi Apuna — who will now go through the standard confirmation process with the Honolulu City Council — has committed to improving staffing levels, organizational structures and technological processes to help drastically reduce permitting approval times for both residential and commercial projects.
“It is an incredible privilege to be appointed director at this pivotal time,” said Dawn Takeuchi Apuna. “Inspired by the hard work of our staff, and in collaboration with the administration, City Council and industry, I am excited and determined to do all I can to lead the department toward optimum efficiency, effectiveness and integrity in service to the public.”
Prior to joining the City as the deputy director of DPP in 2021, Takeuchi Apuna’s experience included numerous legal and planning roles. Most recently, she served as a deputy attorney general for the State of Hawaiʻi.
Prior to that, Dawn was chief planner for the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority. Her role with the Department of Planning and Permitting is a return to City service for Dawn, as she served as deputy corporation counsel for the City and County of Honolulu from 2009 to 2014.
Dawn completed her undergraduate degree and an M.A. in Urban Planning at the University of California Los Angeles. She also holds a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.