Maui News

AFFORDABLE HOUSING BILLS INTRODUCED

March 3, 2009, 9:54 AM HST
* Updated August 11, 3:29 PM
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The Maui County Council will consider two bills aimed at increasing affordable housing on the island. One of the bills would allow `ohana units on smaller parcels of land; while the other bill would permit larger `ohana units on parcels that already allow accessory dwellings.

Council Vice Chair Michael Molina who introduced the draft bills said, “We must seek new and innovative methods for meeting the demands of affordable housing. The `ohana legislation will compliment the efforts of the Workforce Housing Bill, the First Time Homeowner Program and the Affordable Housing Fund, which was passed by the voters.”

Currently, `ohana units are permitted on lots 7,500 square feet and greater. The draft bills would drop the requirement to 6,000 square feet or larger for the construction of `ohana units on residential properties

One of the draft bills stipulates that in order to build an `ohana unit on the smaller lot, the property owner must agree to the following:
1. the unit must be built to accommodate immediate family; or
2. individuals within the very low to gap income levels; and
3. the `ohana must remain affordable for the life of the unit.

Molina said, “We at the council must weigh the effect the economic crisis has on our families and their ability to affordable good quality housing.”

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“We should no longer allow our families to leave the island because they are unable to afford a home,” said Molina.

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The bills were transmitted to the council on February 26th and will be referred to committee during the council’s meeting on Friday March 6th.

(Story by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

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