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Maui councilmembers suggest improvements to state's recent housing proclamation

Casey Harlow

Gov. Josh Green plans to renew an emergency proclamation on housing that seeks to expedite construction and permitting. But some county councilmembers on Maui worry how that will affect the island’s housing inventory.

The Maui County Council’s Housing and Land Use committee reconvened Wednesday, picking up discussion on the governor’s emergency proclamation on housing and how that may come into play following the Maui wildfires.

West Maui Councilmember Tamara Paltin suggested changes to the proclamation’s language to prevent any housing built through it from being used as short-term rentals.

"These are meant to be shelter and not meant to be anything else ever in the future," Paltin said.

The committee last met at the end of August with the governor’s Chief Housing Officer, Nani Medeiros, who submitted her resignation this month following threats to her and her family for her government position.

Medeiros previously reported there were 11,000 units anticipated to be built on Maui in the next decade.

Council Chair Alice Lee said the county and state needs to discuss what will happen to homes that were leveled.

"I'm not sure how those would be handled, because some of those nonconforming homes were on smaller lots, which may not be permitted now, you know, with current code," Lee said.

The council, through different committees this week, will discuss a recovery plan and a potential council-led investigation into the fires.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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