Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Hawaiian Home Lands Building Exemptions

November 4, 2014, 9:20 AM HST
* Updated November 26, 11:31 AM
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Hawaii flag. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaii flag. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: Is it true that the lessees of Hawaiian Homes properties are not required to obtain a building permit for any additions they do on their property?  

If this is true, how are they exempt? I thought all homeowners are required to obtain a building permit per County of Maui requirements, such as how everyone has to pay tax for all vehicles that are registered. Thanks.

A: Structures built on Hawaiian Home Lands are exempt under Maui County Code Chapter 16.26B.101.2, but lessees must still meet all building and zoning codes and ordinances due to State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands regulations.


DHHL requires lessees to obtain written approval from DHHL, as well as County building permits for new homes and renovations.


The DHHL Residential Lessee Handbook states that the lessee must “submit a plan as to the design, materials and probable value and use of the structure to be built on the leasehold.

Building structures or improvements must meet building and zoning codes and other ordinances and regulations of the respective counties.

The construction of building structures or improvements need to receive DHHL approval prior to installation.”


The handbook also notes that DHHL approval assures the lessee that, in the event the lease is surrendered or cancelled, “the value of all improvements on the property will be appraised and paid to the lessee upon surrender or cancellation.”

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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