Mayor seeks new incentives for affordable housing developers

Mayor seeks new incentives for affordable housing developers

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - To get more affordable housing built on Oahu, Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to waive fees developers pay for sewer hookups, building permits and park dedications.

The cost savings for builders could run into the millions of dollars.

"The incentives will help us make the gap to building homes at the price point that there's a pent up demand for," said Christine Camp, president of Avalon Development.

City Managing Director Roy Amemiya said there are more perks the city's considering.

"We're also looking at incentives such as waiving the real property tax during construction as well as for the duration that units stay affordable," he said.

Camp likes the incentives laden plan for affordable housing development. But she wishes the the city would make it easier for all housing development to increase inventory for all home buyers.

"it is a crisis point at all price points. We should be building ourselves out of this crisis," she said.

Besides large developments along the rail line the mayor's affordable housing requirement would also apply to developments of 10 or more units island wide.

Camp thinks some developers may not want to take that risk.

"What this is doing is this is discouraging building of homes," she said.

But the city thinks the island wide approach will spread the burden of building affordable units, add up to 800 new units a year, and get more developers involved.

"The city really wants them engaged in the building of affordable units. Everybody's got be part of the solution," Amemiya said.
Caldwell wants to further incentive affordable unit construction by offering bonds so developers can borrow money at lower interest rates.

He also hopes to offer developers low-cost leases on eight city-owned parcels so they can build affordable housing the sites.

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