Helping our island people thrive

LIHUE — If elected to another term on the Kauai County Council, Arryl Kaneshiro promises to find ways to help families thrive on the island.

Kaneshiro, 35, recently proposed a bill that would allow multi-family dwelling units to be built in residential zoning districts.

“The current prohibition on multi-family units means local families cannot take advantage of reduced construction costs,” he said. “This needs to change.”

Under the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, it is prohibited to build multiple family dwelling units in certain residential districts — R-1 through R-6 — without a use permit. The law also says that houses built after 1980 and are zoned between R-1 and R-6 districts cannot be renovated into two separate houses. Instead, owners have to build a separate structure on their property.

As proposed, Bill No. 2634 will change that rule, allowing multiple family dwelling units to be built in every residential zone. According to the bill, multiple family dwellings units allow for reduced construction cost to density ratios. They also provide for a more efficient use of county and state infrastructure.

It’s measures like Bill No. 2634 Kaneshiro plans to pursue as a councilman.

“Being able to put a roof over one’s head and provide food on the table is central to the safety and security of all our residents,” he said. “Almost every decision that comes before the council — from economic development to housing opportunities — impacts these hopes. I keep this in mind with every vote I cast.”

Born and raised in Koloa, Kaneshiro received a degree in business administration from Pacific University in Oregon. He was a senior accountant for a firm in Oregon before moving home to Kauai in 2007 to work for Grove Farm Company, Inc., where he serves as the project manager.

Kaneshiro, whose father Daryl Kaneshiro served five terms on the Kauai County Council, said he never considered a career in politics.

“I told myself I would never go into politics, but I guess you should never say never,” he said.

Another part of helping Kauai families is making sure the county is responsible with its money, Kaneshiro said. He hopes his background in finance will help lead the county to sustainable financial policies.

“As the Budget and Finance Committee Chair, ensuring that the county is fiscally responsible is an utmost priority,” he said. “I will strive to work on creating sound financial policies that will guide county decision making and ensure financial stability for future generations.”

Kaneshiro also hopes to diversify Kauai’s economy by working to make the island is open to business.

“We need to be more business friendly. We need to support small business and help young entrepreneurs succeed in innovative ventures,” he said.

Kaneshiro, a third-generation farmer, pledges to push for measures that will benefit farmers.

“As a rancher that currently runs a 600-head sheep farm, I know how hard it can be,” he said. “So many special interest groups have become concerned with further regulating agriculture, and many of these groups’ proposed regulations — as well intentioned as they may be — actually serve as barriers to farming.”

The best thing government can do for farmers is to get out of the way, Kaneshiro added.

“Let farmers farm,” he said.

The primary election is Aug. 13.

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