Arakawa: SMA Law Needed For Sake of Free Enterprise

June 30, 2011, 12:25 PM HST · Updated June 30, 12:27 PM
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By Wendy Osher

East Maui shoreline, photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa praised the passage of HB117, saying it allows smaller projects to go forward without having to go through a major shoreline permit process.

The law, set to go into effect on Friday (July 1, 2011), raises the threshold of projects required to have a special management area (SMA) major permit from $125,000 to $500,000.

The revision is the first modification made to the threshold value in two decade, since 1991.

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“I proposed and supported this change because state law needed to be updated for the sake of free enterprise,” said Mayor Arakawa. “For years the cost of materials and labor has risen but this SMA permit threshold has remained the same,” said Mayor Arakawa who proposed the threshold change as part of the Hawaii Council of Mayor’s legislative package.

“Now homeowners can remodel their kitchens and store owners can redesign their shops without going through an unnecessary and cumbersome SMA major process,” he said.

State lawmakers say the purpose of the measure is to expedite and facilitate work on projects that have been or may be stalled due to delays relating to SMA permitting requirements.

In addition to increasing the threshold for SMA major permits, the law also puts a limit on the size of single-family residences that fall within the exemption range.  Homes of less than 7,500 square feet, with a valuation of less than $500,000, will be exempt from SMA permitting requirements altogether. Larger homes, depending on their valuation, will still be required to obtain either SMA minor or major permits.

Mayor Arakawa said the bill could not have been passed without the work of county planning officials and state legislators including State Rep. Angus McKelvey of Maui. The Mayor also thanked Planning Director Will Spence and Deputy Director Michele McLean for input on the drafting of the bill.

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