Hawaiʻi to explore moratorium on sales of damaged or destroyed properties in Maui wildfires

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Wildfire updates for Monday Aug. 15 are posted: HERE.

Gov. Josh Green addresses wildfire response during a press briefing on Monday afternoon. PC: Wendy Osher / Maui Now (8.14.23). View the full press conference HERE.

Governor Josh Green, M.D., Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen and other officials addressed serious community concerns relating to the disaster recovery process and provided updates on round-the-clock efforts to bring stability back to Maui residents. The discussion was part of an afternoon press conference held Monday in Wailuku, Maui.

A top concern was that residents are being approached about selling fire-damaged home sites, by people posing as real estate agents who may have ill intent. It is an issue the Governor said he has already has been working to combat.

“I’ve reached out to the Attorney General to explore options to do a moratorium on any sales of properties that have been damaged or destroyed,” said Governor Green during the press event. “Moreover, I would caution people that it’s going to be a very long time, before any growth, or housing can be built. And so, you would be pretty poorly informed if you try to steal land from our people and then build here.”

More than 2,200 structures were damaged or destroyed in the Lahaina wildfire.PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi (8.15.23)

Federal officials have called the Lahaina fire America’s deadliest in more than a century, and Governor Green spoke of his desire to honor the memory of those lost and the significance of the first Capitol of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

“In discussions last night, amongst colleagues of mine, people I trust, we’re hopeful to create a memorial for the people of the state of Hawai‘i in this site. We’ll also invest state resources to preserve and protect this land for our people; not for any development, for our people locally,” Governor Green said.

“I’ll also tell you that this is going to impact how we view, because of tragedy, how we view all of the development in our state. And much of what we do, is challenged by other laws, federal and otherwise, that don’t let us restrict who can buy in our state. But we can do it deliberately during a crisis, and that’s what we’re doing. So for my part I will try to allow no one from outside our state to buy any land until we get through this crisis and decide what Lahaina should be in the future,” he said.


Elected officials and community leaders who provided crucial updates included: Governor Green, Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen; Maui County Department of Fire and Public Safety Chief Brad Ventura; Maui Police Department Chief John Pelletier; Joint Task Force Commander, Brigadier General Stephen F. Logan; Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. President and CEO Shelee Kimura; Maui Humane Society CEO Lisa Labrecque, and Red Cross Western LA Chapter Executive Director Sean Inoue.


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