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Honolulu City Council Gearing Up to Clamp Down on Monster Homes and Illegal Vacation Rentals

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Wayne Yoshioka
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The Honolulu City Council is gearing up to clamp down on Monster Homes and Illegal Vacation Rentals.

 

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Credit Wayne Yoshioka
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Council Chair Ernie Martin

The Honolulu City Council Committee on Zoning and Housing advanced Bill 60, which would make violating a City Stop Work Order a misdemeanor offense, subject to a fine of up to 2-thousand dollars or up to a year imprisonment or both, if convicted.  Council Chair Ernie Martin introduced the measure.

 

“You would think, Stop Work Order, I mean, common sense would tell you, ‘Stop Work.’  But these guys will take a risk and go ahead and continue to do what they were cited for.  And, you know, this is not specifically targeting the monster homes per say but we know that’s probably the most egregious case that all of us have encountered.”

 

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Credit Wayne Yoshioka
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Councilmember Ann Kobayashi

The bill will be up for a final vote by the full City Council October 3rd.  Councilmember Ann Kobayashi says the law should only apply to violators.

 

“If it applies to monster homes.  Not the multi-generational homes that those who are abusing permitting laws, housing laws  We have to do something.”

 

Meanwhile, the Honolulu Planning Commission is set to review a City Council Resolution October 3rd that seeks to change the Land Use Ordinance to limit the number of bedrooms, wet-bars and bathrooms in single family dwellings.  Councilmember Trevor Ozawa introduced the resolution and says house size should not the focus.

 

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Councilmember Trevor Ozawa

“I wanna make sure that we’re taking into account the fact that there are 15-thousand square foot lots in my district.  There are 20-thousand-plus not only in my district but other places that they wanna have a 15-thousand square foot home and if they can afford it and they have a huge house, so be it.”

 

But, DPP Acting Director Kathy Sokugawa says limiting the size of a home helps enforcement.

 

 

 

 

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DPP acting director, Kathy Sokugawa

“It’s been always a challenge to have zoning districts that apply uniformly across the island.  So, we don’t create zoning by neighborhoods or types of socio-economic areas.”

 

The Honolulu Planning Commission also rejected a proposed bill Wednesday to regulate short-term rentals in residential areas, namely, bed and breakfasts and temporary vacation units.  Councilmember Kymberly Pine chairs the Zoning and Housing Committee.

 

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Kymberly Pine, chair, Committee on Zoning and Housing

“It’s a 50-50 issue.  Fifty percent of the people are for vacation rentals because they’re making some income and 50 percent are against.  But I believe we can do it because this is such a big problem in our communities and we must be bold and brave and pass something.”

 

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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