Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024|
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Turns out the county’s affordable housing requirements can be pretty affordable for developers.
The County Council on Wednesday is set to approve payments from two developers who opted to make payments rather than constructing affordable housing near their developments as a condition of rezoning. The two resolutions sailed unanimously through the Finance Committee on March 13.
Resolution 519 accepts $23,600 from Wainani 42 LLC to satisfy the affordable housing requirement for a rezoning that allowed the construction of 50 units at its North Kona site off Kaiminani Drive. In all, it’s required to pay $94,400 if it wants to complete the development of 200 units at Wainani Estates, according to a 1998 resolution passed by the County Council sitting as the county Housing Agency.
Houses in the subdivision are listed for sale on real estate websites ranging from $559,000-$929,000.
Resolution 522 accepts the remaining $50,000 from KW Kona Investors LLC, the second half of $100,000 it was required to pay to rezone and develop 50 hotel units in Kona Village.
The money satisfies the “basic housing requirement by providing or causing the provision of affordable housing units to meet the direct and indirect resort hotel employee housing demands generated by the resort development or by undertaking other related mitigation measures, such as employee training,” according to a 1987 ordinance passed by the County Council.
In 1987, the county calculated that eight affordable housing units would need to be built, at a cost of $12,500 each.
Times have changed, prices have increased, but the original agreement stands. The development agreements don’t contain a sunset date or a cost-of-living adjustment.
The money collected from affordable housing payments goes into the county’s housing revolving fund, Housing Administrator Neil Gyotoku told the council. He said there’s about $1 million in the account.
“It can be used for any housing program within a 25-mile radius,” Gyotoku said in response to questions from Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha and North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff. “It can be used to help other projects being developed or to improve existing housing or existing programs in that area.”
A 2014 study by the nonprofit Rural Community Assistance Corporation found approximately one-third of Hawaii’s 400,000 households are “cost burdened,” paying more than 30 percent of household income on housing costs.
“With the cost of living ranging from 30 percent above the national average to well over 60 percent, depending on family size, Hawaii’s affordable housing and homeless problems have reached crisis proportions,” the study says.
Affordable housing ultimately falls on county governments, the report noted.
“Most state programs are not designed to create developer incentives to build affordable homes necessary to meet the demands of this income group,” the report said. “Since counties are in the best position to control private development through zoning density, subdivision, building standards, and other requirements, affordable housing to meet the needs of moderate-income families is mostly initiated at this level.”
Messages left with the two developers weren’t returned by press time Monday.
Email Nancy Cook Lauer at email@example.com.
Letting developers “pay fines” instead of BUILD HOMES shows that there IS ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE OR URGENCY when it comes to homelessness and housing issues in this state and on this island. If million dollar homes are built then LOW INCOME HOMES MUST BE BUILT NEARBY… the ability for developers to lobby politicians and instead of FOLLOW THE LAWS they’d rather be LAZY, GREEDY and SELFISH and pay fines needs to be REMOVED. The council members and politicians who allow for payments instead of homes are equally to blame. HAWAII ISLAND DOES NOT NEED 50 UGLY mansions in Kona that go for $559,000-$929,000 each. WE DON’T NEED A SINGLE MILLION DOLLAR MANSION BUILT HERE AT ALL! There’s plenty of these types of properties on the market at the moment. WE NEED AFFORDABLE HOUSING ON THE EAST SIDE! The WEST SIDE GETS TOO MUCH FOCUS, MONEY AND ATTENTION to their problems while the east side is ignored because we don’t create as many tourist dollars. No one’s going to want to come to Hawaii island if it’s housing issues makes us look like a 3rd world nation because politicians are SELFISH AND CORRUPT when it comes to MONEY and INFLUENCE!
The demo rats destroyed any and all chances of affordable housing. The only viable solution for all the man made problems the demo rats have caused is civil war to exterminate the rats. Clearly, corruption and greed has destroyed all other options.
Seriously. But apparently someone renting out a small house in HPP is the cause of all the housing problems on this island so they’re going after that instead. That extra $12 million coming from TAT–not a penny is going to affordable housing but they are planning on spending millions per year to enforce new laws about vacation rentals using the same office that takes 6 months to even issue a building permit for affordable housing! Your government at work, headed by Kim with his long legacy of incompetence and corruption. Vote accordingly this Fall!
chump change……who are the developers?….why not actual names?
Land And Power In HAwaii. Making homeless a way of life in Hawaii. Shameful and ridiculous.
Plenty money for development.
No money for the houseless.
Just Swept Away.
I hope the county has learned it’s lesson in writing up “contracts.”
These developments almost never start on time and so they need to put it in the contract that these “affordable housing” have to be built at the market value at the time that the project begins.
You would think that these lawmakers would KNOW these THINGS. Who were these politicians in 1987? I hope there are no other contracts like this one! No wonder we have so many houseless people.
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