County guarantees Habitat’s subdivision

LIHU’E – The Kaua’i County Council decided yesterday to issue a lot purchase

guarantee to assure a West Kaua’i affordable housing subdivision already two

years behind schedule can go forward.

After an extensive explanation from

Kenneth N.Rainforth, Kaua’i County’s executive on housing, the Council agreed

to authorize the Kaua’i County Housing Agency to issue a lot purchase guarantee

to the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

The county has guaranteed to

purchase up to 10 unsold Phase I, ‘Ele’ele I’Luna lots at a total lot purchase

not to exceed $750,000.

“Several years ago the Council approved Habitat for

Humanity changing from 100 houses to 50 houses (for their own affordable

housing subdivision). They (Habitat) have not been successful in obtaining the

financing … we believe the project is good,” Rainforth said.

He added

that the funding would come from “future home allocation … 2001 home

funds.”

When questioned by Council member Billy Swain about using money

“that isn’t there (in the budget) yet,” Rainforth talked about government

duty.

“I think the county is pretty much responsible to see the project

actually happens … (we) did (already) invest almost a million dollars,” he

said.

Councilmember Randal Valenciano wanted to know when the county knew

Habitat for Humanity had failed to follow through on the project.

“When

Habitat failed to do what they promised to do … they failed to build a

subdivision … over two years in default,” Rainforth said.

“It seems like

we’re becoming the lead entity?” Valenciano said.

“Anytime the county

approves a project it’s the county’s responsibility to see those funds are used

as intended,” Rainforth answered.

“All the bells are ringing … I’m not

sure I’m satisfied,” Valenciano said.

“We’re proposing to guarantee … so

the developer is not left holding a subdivision with vacant lots. It’s a

guarantee and if the project goes sideways the county would be responsible,”

Rainforth said.

The project, 50 house on the westside of the island, had

originally been slated for completion in the summer of 1998.

The county

would no longer hold the first mortgage on the project though according to

Rainforth.

“The county has agreed to subordinate its loan to the Bank of

Hawaii,” he said.

Council unanimously approved the request.

Dennis

Wilken can be reached at 245-3681, extention 252, or via e-mail[

HREF=”mailto:dwilken@pulitzer.net”>dwilken@pulitzer.net]

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