When Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa needed to change his daughter's diaper, the men's restroom in the restaurant didn't have a diaper changing station.
"They are in women's restrooms and not in men's," he said.
That prompted Ozawa to explore the issue. He found a lack of diaper changing decks in men's restrooms. Ozawa authored Bill 45 to amend the city's building code and require most new establishments to install baby changing tables in both men's and women's restrooms or in the family restroom, if a business has one.
"This is setting the bar, raising the standards," Ozawa said. "Across the country, you'll find in major metropolitan cities that this is kind of common."
The bill also states businesses that remodel significantly would have to equip their lavatories with diaper decks. It could be a theater, a service station, or a restaurant.
"It's a great convenience for the parents, but at what cost to the restaurant operator." Hawaii Restaurant Association executive director Gregg Fraser said.
He estimates adding a changing station would take up about 20 square feet of wall and floor space, if a business were forced to install decks in both men's and women's restrooms. He said that is lost retail space, and square footage is expensive.
"Your restrooms are probably around 100, 120 square feet. So adding another 20 square feet to that, and possibly moving a wall or taking out a stall, that would put hardship on the restaurant," he said.
"This, at the high end, costs you about $2,000." Ozawa said. "There's studies that show that it actually increases your revenue by having a more family friendly business or establishment."
Actor and dad Ashton Kutcher recently complained on Facebook that "There are never diaper changing stations in men's public restrooms." So Ozawa isn't alone in his quest. His bill also includes exemptions for businesses that can prove they don't have the space or the money for a diaper changing station.
The city's Planning and Zoning committee hears testimony on Bill 45 Thursday at 9 a.m. at City Hall.