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Honolulu City Council Advances "Monster House" Ban

Wayne Yoshioka

The Honolulu City Council is expected to fast-track a temporary ban on so-called “Monster Houses.” HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

The size of a residential structure on O’ahu will be temporarily limited based on FAR - floor area ratio to lot size.  A home no larger than 2,625 square feet will be allowed on a 3,500 square foot lot and a tiered system for houses on larger properties will be limited at 50 to 70 percent FAR.   Christine Otto Zaa has lived in the Kaimuki – Kapahulu area all her life but says the floor area ratios are still too high.

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Christine Otto-Zaa from Kaimuki says the floor to area ratios are still too high.

“There’s a monster on Palolo Ave on a 5,050 square foot lot.  The dwelling is 3,761 square feet with 10 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.”

The City Department of Planning and Permitting will also look at increasing parking requirements based on building size.   Armstrong Builders vice president, Wayne Muraoka, favors FAR and would like to impose other restrictions.

“We support looking at number of bedrooms, number of kitchens, number of wetbars.  We thing those more closely target the causes of the problems.”

Planning Committee vice chair Kimberly Pine expressed some concerns and would like to survey residents of her district.

“Just in my own calculations, just briefly, would negatively affect a lot of good families in my district.  Like a 4 bedroom house being a monster house in some of my areas.”

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Councilmember Trevor Ozawa vows to monitor monster homes already built.

Pine also wants to exempt residential care homes.  Councilmember Trevor Ozawa would like to review all current building permits for violations and vowed to take action against those already built.

“The people building monster houses today, they are not getting a free pass.  We have rules and DPP is well-aware that we are advocates for enforcement of these structures.  And I’ve asked the neighborhood to continue to monitor these houses and make sure they’re not being bad neighbors.”

Planning Committee chair, Ikaika Anderson, recommends the temporary moratorium on residential buildings be effective upon signing of the bill into law.  He will also try to fast-track the measure.

“I would ask Council Chair Menor to schedule a special Council meeting next week Tuesday, February 13th.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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