Council to consider housing solutions

LIHUE — The Kauai County Council will be considering measures to combat the housing crisis on Kauai on Wednesday.

Two bills, one regarding the the Lihue Planning District and one seeking to provide a tax benefit for residents who use their homes for long-term affordable housing, are slated for second reading.

Bill No. 2627 would allow qualifying properties in the Lihue Community Planning area to build an additional rental unit, or ARU, which will have a separate kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living space.

The bill was written to address the need for an estimated 10,000 units in Lihue, Puhi and Hanamaulu.

The Lihue Community Plan, which was approved by the council in June 2015, states that “the county is anticipated to need an additional 10,000 new housing units to accommodate its resident population between 2010 and 2035. The Lihue district is expected to absorb nearly half of this increase, which would mean adding approximately 4,600 units to its current housing stock.”

The plan further states, “approximately 2,000 units can be accommodated developments. The remaining 2,600 dwelling units and associated supporting infrastructure will need to be developed elsewhere within the Lihue district.”

The bill would allow property owners to create legal spaces for local residents, giving them additional income.

But the ARUs will have to adhere to certain standards. As per the bill, ARUs cannot be more than 800 square feet. Additionally, the structures must provide off-street parking and sufficient water and sewer availability. The ARU cannot be subdivided and cannot be used as a transient vacation rental.

The proposed bill will also consider incentives, like offering tax benefits, for people who rent ARUs on their property.

Also on Wednesday, the council will consider a bill that will give Kauai residents a tax benefit if they use their homes as a long-term affordable rental.

Bill No. 2633 seeks to give property owners the homestead tax rate of their homes serve as long-term affordable housing. The tax rate for homesteads is $3.05. The residential tax rate is $6.05.

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