Affordable housing bill fails

LIHUE — A bill that proposed to reform the county’s affordable housing policy did not pass a second hearing at the Kauai County Council meeting last week, losing in a 6-1 vote.

Bill 2725 was introduced by then Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura and former Council Chair Mel Rapozo in an attempt to preserve housing designated for low-income families at prices below the normal market value.

Yukimura said she can’t figure out why her bill met resistance, considering that the development of affordable housing was listed among the goals in the Housing Agency’s 2018 budget and the Kauai County General Plan.

“It’s baffling,” she said.

Although the bill passed first reading unanimously, there was some discussion and disagreement at the Oct. 24 council meeting. The bill’s opponents were concerned that stricter regulations will deter investors, ultimately stifling real estate development.

A Nov. 8 opinion issued by County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask was also critical of the bill. In the opinion, Trask expressed concerns about the bill’s future impact on the economy as well as its ability to stand up to legal challenges.

Trask advised the council to “withhold any action,” pending the conclusions of a housing market study, which is being conducted by an independent company at the request of the housing agency to determine the economic feasibility of a countywide “inclusionary housing policy.”

Housing Agency Director Kanani Fu said she expects the study to be finalized and released to the public sometime this week.

“As well intended as this is, it’s premature,” Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa said of the bill at the Nov. 28 council meeting.

Developers of affordable housing units are required to rent or sell the homes at reduced rates only for a certain number of years. Once that term expires, owners are allowed to rent or sell them at regular market prices, far beyond the price range of the original occupants.

Already the island’s housing deficit stands at about 1,400 units and that number is expected to increase by 9,000 units by 2035, according to the 2018 Kauai County General Plan. Bill 2725 essentially proposed to prevent that eventuality by eliminating or extending the expiration date on affordable housing units.

“The need for such policy is made clear by the example of Courtyard at Waipouli,” Yukimura said during the council’s first hearing on the bill in October.

The development is an affordable housing project whose rent-control restrictions will expire in less than a year.

“That means that the owner will be able to rent or sell those units for residence or vacation rentals at market prices, which means that 41 families will have to leave and find another place to live,” Yukimura said. “The question is, where will they go?”


Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or

  1. sheeples December 6, 2018 4:55 am Reply

    They will go to your local beach park or move away to some other place. Putting it in the words of a local slumlord and well known realtor:”kauai will be for only super elite wealthy people and Filipino slaves.” Straight from the horse’s mouth sheeples. Stay home and dont serve the blood suckers if you want to stay alive.

  2. Rich Belmont December 6, 2018 7:50 am Reply

    Curious regarding which member voted for the proposal.

  3. Palani December 6, 2018 8:33 am Reply

    Why? Can’t a developer make a profit by building and renting affordable housing perpetually?
    I hate the popular term “Corporate Greed,” but this does seem to be a perfect example.
    And would slowing developers be such a bad thing?
    I think not.

    1. RG DeSoto December 6, 2018 2:28 pm Reply

      Perfect example of economic illiteracy and ignorance.
      You think that restricting developers and therefore the supply of housing is going to ease prices? Fundamental economics: restricting supply in the face of increasing demand is the PERFECT formula for escalating home prices.
      Read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.
      RG DeSoto

  4. Oingo boingo December 6, 2018 8:53 am Reply

    This just goes to show that our local government does not give a rat’s ass
    About affordible housing…they are all In it for the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    We lost the 2 smartest people on the council(who actually care)..
    What a shame…

  5. RG DeSoto December 6, 2018 9:26 am Reply

    “Yukimura said she can’t figure out why her bill met resistance, considering that the development of affordable housing was listed among the goals in the Housing Agency’s 2018 budget and the Kauai County General Plan.
    “It’s baffling,” she said.”
    Baffling, Joanne? No people are beginning to understand that more government junk piled on existing government junk (interference, mandates etc.) will never solve the problem.
    You should sponsor a bill that relaxes idiotic mandates (like solar and roof insulation, kitchen size rules), liberalizes land-use laws allowing for speedy rezoning from ag to residential, speeds up the insane permit process, and dumps the nonsensical density mandates. In other words, Joanne, get the hell out of the way and let the market solve the issue. But We all know that’s just not a part of your collectivist mentality…a mentality, by the way, that has caused the lack of housing supply in the first place.
    Unfortunately, the government from top to bottom is populated by the economically ignorant pretending they know how to solve the problem.
    You have at least four decades to try your way. Isn’t it about time to try something different?
    RG DeSoto

  6. commonsenseisnt December 6, 2018 11:44 am Reply

    The problem with “letting the market” figure it out is that we here are not a closed system – while we have only so much housing available, there will always be folks with more money from other lands that will be able to out-bid and out-spend us here. Especially since our local economy is quite service industry- and other low-income job-based. The best way to make money as a developer would be to cater to off-island buyers whether they be new transplants or folks looking for a vacation home who can fork out the initial cost of a $100000 down payment, and cover the cost with AirB&Bing/TVR for the 50 weeks they’re not here. We residents just can’t compete, having to work 2 jobs per person just to rent a place that keeps getting more costly the more houses are swept up by these very buyers.

  7. AllUclowns December 6, 2018 12:28 pm Reply

    You think you’re not a slave because you are part of the good ol boys and gals of plantation supervisors? Filipino slaves ha you jokers think your race is better than any other race but the filipino people have more famous and successful people of minority ethnicity. Go check facts you racist plantation slaves will never accept the facts but think you are better than Filipinos. Soon enough all you all you will be working for Filipinos. Bruno Marz, Enrique Iglesias, NBA coach won 2 championships for Miami Heat Eric Spoelstra, NBA player Jordan Clarkson, MLB player Benny Agbayani and Addison Russell, many singers, actors, models, Ms. Universe, and so on. Jealous racist fools will always try to put down another race to make them feel better about themselves. All you clowns are slaves on Kauai.

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