Council takes aim at affordable housing

A little known bill is currently making its way through our County Council: A bill that will exempt developers from the need to build affordable housing for an entire decade: Bill 2774. As we prepare for the upcoming County Council elections, this affordable housing 10 year exemption is being proposed by Council Chair, Arryl Kaneshiro and KipuKai Kuali‘i.

The part of the bill that creates the exemption follows. Basically, every location on the island where a developer builds 10 residential units or more per acre none will need to be sold at affordable rates. Kauai’s current housing code has no such exemption. Rather, when multifamily developments are built, developers are currently required to build approximately 30 percent for sale at affordable rates. Such homes are referred to as workforce housing, a term that now includes affordable, low-income etc. So, where will affordable housing/workforce housing requirements come from if the following is passed?

SECTION 13. Chapter 7A, Kaua’i County Code 1987, as amended, is hereby amended by adding a new Section 7A-1.4.2, Exemptions, as follows:

“Sec. 7A-1.4.2 Exemptions.

The workforce housing requirements of this Chapter, shall not apply to the following:

(a) Projects within the following special planning areas and design districts, developed at or above the maximum density allowed:

(1) Lihue Town Core Urban Design District as defined in Title IV, Chapter 10, Article 5A.

(2) Koloa Town Walkable Mixed Use District as defined in Title IV, Chapter 10, Article 6.

(3) Kalaheo Town Walkable Mixed Use District as defined in Title IV, Chapter 10, Article 6.

(b) Projects outside of Visitor Destination Areas and Special Management Areas in residential or mixed use zoning districts with a density of R-10 or greater, consisting of multiple or single family attached dwellings, developed at or above the maximum density allowed.

(c) Any affordable or workforce housing development developed by or for the County, either by itself or in partnership with another housing development organization, is exempt from the requirements of this Chapter.

(d) The exemptions in subsection (a) for special planning areas and design districts and in subsection (b) relating to zoning density shall expire ten (10) years from the date of their adoption.”

Should we abandon the workforce housing requirements for the next 10 years? Why would we do that? Some public officials offer that this new 10 year exemption will incentivize builders to develop concentrated housing. The houses to be built, 10 units or more per acre, outside the visitor destination area, like that approved for the Lihue Town Core (2880 unit capacity per legislation signed by the Mayor, earlier this year), with similar approved build-outs planned for Koloa and Kalaheo are all exempt from the need to be affordable. Those employed in service industries and professions will be forced out as prices rise in the hip, new town cores. Low/medium income households will live in areas where they need to drive to work, which dramatically increases their cost of living and creates additional traffic impacts. The proposed exemption guts the development to housing that our workers can afford.

In a recent conversation with the housing director, Adam Roversi, he confirmed that there are similar Town Core build outs being planned for Waimea, Hanapepe, Port Allen/Ele`ele Heights and Kilauea which will fall within the proposed exemption.

Who stands to benefit from this new 10 year exemption? Not the people of Kauai and our workforce who definitely need affordable housing.

Of interest, our Council Chair, also project manager for Grove Farm, is offering the bill at the same time Grove Farm’s Mahaulepu Farms is planning to build an 1100 residential unit mixed use village on the corner of Poipu and Ala Kinoiki Roads (Eastern Koloa bypass). This is outside and mauka of the VDA (visitor destination area), formerly agriculture land but the General Plan now designates it a “large town”. See page 243 of the 2018 General Plan Update. If Grove Farm obtains approval to build the 1100 unit mixed use village within the 10 year exemption, none need be sold as workforce housing/affordable.

This bill will be before the Council July 8, 2020. Public comments may be emailed to the Council at: counciltestimony@kauai.gov. Are we really ready for a 10 year moratorium on workforce/affordable housing on Kauai?

•••

Bridget Hammerquist is a resident of Koloa

12 Comments
  1. Sell Out July 5, 2020 3:54 am Reply

    Sell out to their campaign donors, unions, and their family members to profit from this despicable act of capitalism.

    Kauai has seen its fair share of housing schemes proposed by council to extract the locals from areas where their families have lived for generations.

    This is another capitalistic act of treason by the county council.

    The citizens of Kauai need to get rid of these good old boys and girls from the plantation era who represent the GREED who came to Kauai and pimp the island out like predecessors.

    The proposed housing investment properties in Koloa will be for foreign investors who will profit and not residents who live in the area and we have seen these housing developments with foreign investors pop up all over the US and state of Hawaii.

    These kinds of sell out profit pimping capitalism acts has been happening prior to the plantation era boom.

    The wave to destroy the middle class and create only two class of people, the rich and the poor started in the early 2000’s and the effects have torn Kauai, the state of Hawaii, and the US apart.

    The acts to segregate and gentrify for profits and capitalism has caused homeless camps crisis all across America and if homes doesn’t make dollars for investors then it doesn’t make sense for legislation.

    It’s an Election year folks. Get rid of those who voted to enact this for this pimping scheme.


    1. Ed July 7, 2020 2:42 am Reply

      Sometimes by looking at history we can see into the future. Witness Naples Florida that experienced a huge real estate boom in the 90’s. Property prices soared out of reach for but the rich. Civil servants, police/fire/EMT, teachers and younger workers could not afford to live within a reasonable commute of their Naples jobs. Living in Naples was just a fantasy unless you slept in your car. Employers had to become creative in recruiting new employees: paying for gas, subsidizing real estate down payment and monthly payment. The Naples economy suffered due to fewer new residents: instead of 10 middle class new residents maybe 4 or 5 wealthy residents. Ironically what saved Naples was the real estate crash of 2006 – 2008. Almost over night real estate flipping was a money losing deal, mi$$ion plus condos became worthless and middle income employees had their pick of bargains – if they kept their job. Would urban planning with a mix of price ranges have helped to temper the boom and thus mitigate the bust? Maybe, but I would caution any government who wanted to follow the Naples model. Uncontrolled inflation of prices: Tulip Crash of 1637 to USA real estate crash of 2008, is the usual result of uncontrolled inflation of prices.


  2. kauaiboy July 5, 2020 6:19 am Reply

    There are generally two sides to every story. I encourage Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, Council member KipuKai Kuali‘i, and Housing Director, Adam Roversi to answer Ms. Hammerquist”s criticism with guest editorials of their own, explaining their motivations and expectations of the ramifications of Bill 2774.

    Ms. Hammerquist makes compelling arguments as to the appropriateness of this Bill.

    What say you fellows? Have you an answer?


  3. Westside Resident July 5, 2020 7:19 am Reply

    If you want Kauai to be like Oahu, proceed to support affordable housing development.

    If you want to divide society, proceed to support affordable housing.

    If you proceed to support affordable housing, build wider roads first.


  4. nobody July 5, 2020 8:15 am Reply

    Residents may recently have noticed the impact on our parks and beaches WITHOUT visitors. There are more and more of us moving here or having kids. All these new residences, affordable or not, are going to put more pressure on our parks and beach accesses. And what about the roads?
    We need the income of tourism to survive, yet we blame them for our problems. The fact that Kauai has ignored improving infrastructure for the past 40 years is now obvious and we should take the blame.
    We need to attack housing on several fronts, including rentals that people can’t speculate.


  5. 1hunglow July 5, 2020 9:53 am Reply

    We local working men and women of kauai need to wake up and vote this scum bag who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth off the county council. He seems to be all about special interests and besides while also working for one of the bigger land owners on kauai seems to be a major conflict of interest


  6. Errol Derrol July 5, 2020 11:14 am Reply

    Sell out to the grease your palms.

    Just like daddy.

    How’s that “my kids need houses to live in on AG land”.

    Daddy proposed subdivision on AG land so the rich get richer.

    Sly buggah that one and the son too.


  7. Lucky We Live Kaua’i July 5, 2020 1:16 pm Reply

    No question Grove Farm is no longer a farm. They are a Land Development company. If they succeed in building an 1100 unit mixed-use Village on the corner of Poipu Road and the Eastern bypass, those condos will be exempt from the need to sell at a fordable rates and it might not be in the visitor destination area but it’s walking distance to all of the beautiful beaches of the South Shore so it will be condo sales on the edge of a visitor destination area. Can’t get much closer and can you imagine the price of those Condominiums.? Is that what we want for Poipu?


  8. Nutsacknancy July 5, 2020 2:05 pm Reply

    I hope all you voters are seeing this Bull crap.
    This island is starving for affordable and housing but Arryl is putting special interest
    Before the local people…..let’s oust this character….besides how is working for grove farm not a total conflict of interest


  9. Merci Schon July 5, 2020 3:42 pm Reply

    OMGOSH, seriously! I keep reading on and on about the shortage and needing to build affordable housing for those living on Kauai. As we already know, tourism is part of what keeps Kauai going. Where do these politicians believe they should live, especially with the pay scale they work for. I have to believe that Council Chair, Arryl Kaneshiro and KipuKai Kuali‘I live quite comfortably on the island, therefore have no regard for anyone else trying to survive. And, I would question who are these “developers”? Friends of Council Chair, Arryl Kaneshiro and KipuKai Kuali‘I? Do these developers live on Kauai? Apparently, none of these entities actually care about the people on Kauai. Not only is there a lack of concern for the workers of Kauai but the Kapunas who are also in dire need of affordable housing! Wow, when does the greed stop! I hope and pray there are responsible thinking people who make the final decisions do all in their power to stop and think what Bill 2774 would do to the island and its residents. I find Kauai to be the only island on Hawaii that still has some authentic Hawaiian flavor to it. The people remain kind and friendly, always willing to help a neighbor. It’s beautiful and tropical! Do you really need more housing “developments” which would, of course, bulldoze so much of the beautiful landscape. I find this all to be unthinking, reckless and negligent, and a major disservice to not only the people of Kauai but to the island itself.


  10. Jjjames July 6, 2020 6:16 pm Reply

    More housing..more people… more cars… more traffic… More roads needed… more goods shipped in… more gas shipped in… more trash to dispose of… more sewage to treat… more doctors needed… more hospitals needed… More more more.
    When does it STOP!!


  11. SouthsideSally July 7, 2020 11:16 pm Reply

    It seems very stupid for council Chair Kaneshiro to propose such a bill as Bill2774, with there being such a serious need for “affordable” housing on Kauai. I can’t imagine that this foolish move will help his chances of being re-elected to the County Council-unless he is so overly confident that he can be re-elected no matter what kind of stupid stunts he tries to pull. This is seriously embarrassing. Yikes lets hope that there are enough sane other council members that this bill gets nowhere. Fingers crossed!


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