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Planning O‘ahu’s Sewers

billsoPHOTO / Flickr
billsoPHOTO / Flickr

There’s been a lot of discussion about how the city’s sewer capacity holds back development. Turns out there’s more than a shortage of pipes at play. Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier has more.?  

PBN plumbed the sewers from the perspective that we’re facing a critical housing shortage.  Oahu needs nearly 26,000 units over the next decade just to meet the natural demand from a growing population.

There are solutions such as the city’s new allowance for accessory dwelling units or further redeveloping urban Honolulu in Kaka’ako.  Moikiki, and Kapalama.  However, everyone from developers to Gov. David Ige have told PBN that the city’s sewer capacity is lacking and can’t handle more development.

PBN reporter Kathleen Gallagher found there’s another wrinkle to this.  In some cases, there may be enough sewer capacity, but the department of planning and permitting may not know that.  That’s because another city development, environmental services, has more current and detailed information.  As it should.  This department is the one that builds and maintains the sewers.

The two departments do not automatically consult one another when a building permit comes in.  If DPP says no, there’s no sewer capacity, it’s up to the developer to appeal to environmental services.   It can take more than three months for that appeal to be processed.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell declined to comment on why this process couldn't be more streamlined. 

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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