Molina: “Stop the Talk and Let’s Start Building Affordable Rental Housing”

June 13, 2019, 9:29 AM HST · Updated June 14, 7:56 AM
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Maui county councilmember Michael Molina.

Today Councilmember Michael J. Molina transmitted a proposal to the mayor and housing director, identified as a “Call to Action” for the building of affordable rental housing.

The proposal requests Mayor Michael Victorino and the administration issue a Request for Proposals to develop affordable rental housing using county resources.

“For as long as I can remember elected officials, non-profits, for profits, developers and industry types have discussed the issues surrounding the development of affordable housing,” said Molina.  “The time for action is now,” he said.

Molina, who represents the Makawao, Haʻikū and Pāʻia district said, “We know the hurdles to building affordable housing are land costs, infrastructure, permit fees, processing permits and required studies.  We don’t need to hear this again the County has the ability to make these hurdles less burdensome.”

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Molina’s “Call to Action” proposal consists of the following:

  • The County of Maui shall issue an RFP to build affordable rental housing on County owned land.
  • The County of Maui will identify a number of sites owned by the County that a developer/contractor can use to build the affordable rental housing projects.
  • The proposed developer/contractor shall submit a proposal to the County for a potential affordable rental housing project on a County owned parcel they believe is appropriate for the proposed project.
  • The County of Maui will review each of the proposals and award the contract to the winning proposal, subject to Administration and Council review.
  • The County of Maui will in turn award the winning proposal: (1) Access to land via ownership or an extended land lease for a minimal fee; (2) A grant to be determined ($5 – $20 million) to assist with design, infrastructure and construction of the project; (3) Waive most or all permit fees; (4) Expedite the processing of permits; and (5) Waive all real property taxes for the entire lease or a timeline agreed to by the parties.

Molina said his proposal utilizes resources available to the County, such as land, permit fee exemption, expedited processing, real property taxes and revenue.  “All these resources can be leveraged by the County to create a partnership for the development of affordable housing,” said Molina.

During the deliberations of the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget, both the Mayor and the Council added more than $10 million for the purpose of affordable housing over the previous year’s budget.

“The resources are there, it’s time to use them,” said Molina. “We can continue to talk or start building, I say let’s start building,” he said.

The proposal was transmitted to the Mayor and Lori Tsuhako, Director of Housing and Human Concerns via correspondence dated June 10, 2019.

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