Committee delays housing bill

LIHUE — The intention of a bill that would allow people to build additional rental units on their property was to increase inventory, not affordable housing options.

“I hear some people say this is going to help affordable housing, but I don’t see where affordability is addressed,” said Mel Rapozo, council chair. “But other than in the purpose, I don’t see any reference that will give people incentives to create affordable housing.”

Bill No. 2627 states: “the Council of the County of Kauai finds that there is an urgent need to address the shortage of available rental housing units on Kauai.”

The bill also says that its purpose is to “ increase the number of affordable rental units in the Lihue Planning District.”

Because of that confusion, the Planning Committee for the Kauai County Council unanimously voted Wednesday to defer Bill No. 2627 until the purpose of the bill is clear.

It will take amendments to do that, said Councilman Mason Chock, chair of the planning committee.

Kanani Fu, director of the Housing Agency said when you increase inventory in the Lihue area, you decrease pricing.

“That’s the supply and demand rule,” she said.

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 that “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.”

Bill No. 2627 will allow people in Lihue, Hanamaulu and Puhi to build additional rental units of no more than 800 square feet on their property.

Bill No. 2627 will be discussed again in committee on July 27.

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