AFFORDABLE HOUSING BILLS INTRODUCED
The Maui County Council will consider two bills aimed at increasing affordable housing on the island. One of the bills would allow `ohana units on smaller parcels of land; while the other bill would permit larger `ohana units on parcels that already allow accessory dwellings.
Council Vice Chair Michael Molina who introduced the draft bills said, â€œWe must seek new and innovative methods for meeting the demands of affordable housing. The `ohana legislation will compliment the efforts of the Workforce Housing Bill, the First Time Homeowner Program and the Affordable Housing Fund, which was passed by the voters.â€
Currently, `ohana units are permitted on lots 7,500 square feet and greater. The draft bills would drop the requirement to 6,000 square feet or larger for the construction of `ohana units on residential properties
One of the draft bills stipulates that in order to build an `ohana unit on the smaller lot, the property owner must agree to the following:
1. the unit must be built to accommodate immediate family; or
2. individuals within the very low to gap income levels; and
3. the `ohana must remain affordable for the life of the unit.
Molina said, â€œWe at the council must weigh the effect the economic crisis has on our families and their ability to affordable good quality housing.â€
â€œWe should no longer allow our families to leave the island because they are unable to afford a home,â€ said Molina.
The bills were transmitted to the council on February 26th and will be referred to committee during the councilâ€™s meeting on Friday March 6th.
(Story by Wendy OSHER Â© 2009)