City council approves temporary ban on the construction of 'monster homes'

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu City Council has voted unanimously to put a temporary ban on the construction of  "monster homes" on Oahu.

Bill 110 prohibits construction of new homes larger that 3,500 square feet for two years, requires a number of street parking spaces, and limits the number of bathrooms per square feet.

Dwelling Size (square feet)
including the area of lanais
Required off-street parking spaces
Up to 2,500 2
2,501 to 3,500 3
3,501 to 4,500 5
4,501 to 5,500 7
5,501 to 6,500 9
6,501 to 7,500 11
7,501 and up
11 plus one for every 1,000 sf of floor area
or portion thereof above 7,501
Lot size (square feet) Number of bathrooms cannot exceed
Up to 4,000 2.5
4,001 to 5,000 3.5
5,001 to 6,000 4.5
6,001 to 7,000 5.5
7,001 to 8,000 6.5
8,001 and up
7.5 plus one for every 1,000 sf of lot area
or portion thereof above 8,001

The bill also requires the Department of Planning and Permitting to enforce building codes and the land use ordinance.

Councilmembers say the moratorium will give the city time to develop stricter regulations, and they hope it will also help catch those who are taking advantage of the law.

"It is my sincere hope the Department of Planning and Permitting utilizes this language in the draft to strictly enforce this moratorium, and if possible, to require the demolition of any homes that are found to be the most egregious violators," said Councilman Ikaika Anderson.

Supporters of the large homes — often with eight bedroom or more — have said the structures help address Oahu's demand for affordable housing, as well as provide one-roof housing options for multigenerational families.

Building industry representatives also fear a moratorium would affect construction of needed and legal housing.

The bill now heads to Mayor Kirk Caldwell's desk for his signature. Caldwell's planning department has been involved in drafting the bill.

Wednesday's decision was welcomed by residents on Puawa Place in Halawa Heights, where they say at least two monster homes are being planned on their street.

Wendy Athans says they were told one home could have as many as 18 bedrooms, and she says she fears it will ruin their quiet neighborhood and sense of security.

"Are we going to have new people in and out all the time? And their guests, where are they going to park?," Athans said. "It'll definitely be a safety issue."

Parking along Puawa Place is very limited, and neighbors say larger vehicles — like dump trucks and ambulances — already have trouble coming down the narrow street.

"I live with my grandma and she's 92-years-old, so if something happened, we'd need the driveway out," said resident Carlos Oikawa.

Just down the street from one of the proposed sites, Mark Shertzer says he runs a dog boarding business out of his home that could be in jeopardy.

"There's the possibility we might have to shut down that business," Shertzer said. "There wont be any parking and then the clients entrust us with the safety of their dogs."

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