‘Ohana unit hopefuls, heed new law

People wanting to build additional dwelling units on agricultural and open-zoned lands should begin the permitting process to comply with a new law, Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste said this week.

During a weekly media chat at the historic County Building Friday, Baptiste said property owners wanting to apply for a building permit for the housing unit, also known as an ohana dwelling, must submit an ADU facilities clearance form along with an affidavit to the county Planning Department by June 15.

The law would affect nearly 2,000 property owners, 800 of whom have already sought permits for the additional dwelling units, county planning director Ian Costa said Friday.

Citing the need to preserve the island’s rural feel and open space, county officials had initially opposed the idea of allowing any more of the units on agricultural and open-zoned properties.

As a compromise, the Kaua‘i County Council approved and the mayor signed into law a measure that allows landowners until June 15 to complete the clearance form — the ticket to obtaining the permits to build the units.

The form is like a checklist of things that have to be in place or built to accommodate the unit, including roads and adequate police and fire service.

“I urge landowners to be mindful of the June 15 deadline to complete the processing of the additional dwelling unit clearance form for properties eligible for building an ADU in agriculture and open zoning districts,” Costa said. “Property owners are being offered a reprieve to build ADUs on agriculture and open zoned lands, but based on the current ordinance, this is their last chance.”

Only landowners with such lots that existed before this year will be eligible to build the ADUs.

Dec. 15, 2009 will be the last day for the issuance of building permits, provided the clearance forms are completed, Baptiste said.

The council adopted an ordinance last November that terminated a law allowing the ADUs, but included provisions to allow for new units as long as certain conditions were met.

Owners of residentially zoned lands are allowed to build ADUs through legislation spearheaded by one-time councilman Joe Munichika and the late-councilman Jimmy Tehada.

• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or lchang@kauaipubco.com.

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