Housing bill passed

LIHUE — The County of Kauai now has the ability to buy units that are part of the Hanamaulu affordable housing development.

On Wednesday, the Kauai County Council unanimously passed Bill No. 2644, which allows the county to purchase 32 units built in the first phase of Hooluana at Kohea Leo, located at the intersection of Kuhio and Kapule highways.

Developers D.R. Horton and the county are partnering on the project, which is an effort to add to Kauai’s affordable housing stock.

“I want to thank D.R. Horton and everyone who worked together to make this work out,” said Mel Rapozo, council chair. “I’m pleased at the result. To me, it could always be better, but I’m happy with the compromise and ready to move forward.”

Priority goes to Kauai residents who do not own fee simple or leasehold property in the United States and who are income-qualified buyers, according to the bill.

The four-phase project began in June.

Once finished, it will boast 440 housing units, 40 percent of which will be affordable housing, with fee-simple ownership, for income groups ranging from 80 to 140 percent of the Kauai median household incomes.

D.R. Horton plans to begin selling the houses at 140 percent of the median income, beginning in the high $400,000 range.

But if the developer cannot sell them at that price, the county will be able to purchase 32 units built in the first phase of the project and sell them for a lower price.

Units sold at 80 percent of the median income, for example, will cost about $232,000.

That came at the suggestion of Rapozo, who said he had trouble supporting the project if houses were being sold at 140 percent of the median income.

The amendment to Bill No. 2644 was unanimously approved by the council Planning Committee Feb. 1.

The bill reads: “In the event that any of the 32 duplex affordable housing units are not under contract for purchase within the six-month sales period, the county may purchase the unit(s) at the same price that the developer is required to sell the affordable housing unit to the intended income group.”

Vertical construction of the affordable housing project is expected to begin this spring.

During the first phase of the project, 151 single-family and duplex units will be built, 20 percent of which will be classified as affordable housing.

Units built in phases two, three and four will be sold at 80 to 100 percent of the median income.

In the second phase, 72 units will be built with 54 being affordable housing, said Bob Bruhl, president of D.R. Horton.

In the third phase, of the 83 units built, 38 will be affordable housing. And in the final phase, 70 units of the 134 will be affordable housing.

The second phase is tentatively expected to start by mid-2018 and the third phase is slated to begin at the beginning of 2020, Bruhl said.

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