City gives approval to 'monster homes' contractor despite public outcry

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A contractor known for building "monster homes" has received city approval to continue construction on 17 different projects, just weeks after he was ordered to stop all work because his state license had been revoked.

City officials say the state reinstated HH Constructions' licenses earlier this month and construction was allowed to resume.

The company's projects include some monster homes, including one on Hala Drive in Kalihi that is expected to have at least 23 bedrooms.

"It's incredibly frustrating to see this contractor restart work after all the issues, not just with their contractors license and their permits, but with numerous safety violations in the past. It's a huge concern for our neighborhood," said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, executive director of the Hawaii Construction Alliance.

Dos Santos-Tam says the situation is an example of how flawed the permitting process is, and points to the need for more enforcement of permitting rules, and better communication between the city and the state.

"The contractor's license on the state's side was revoked back in December, and yet, the city continued to issue permits to this contractor up until May. So somewhere along the line, there was no cross-checking of licenses," Dos Santos-Tam said.

HH Constructions did not return our requests for comment.

Work on the Hala Drive monster home will continue, even after a temporary moratorium banning the construction of these super-sized homes was signed into law back in March.

"There are permits that were issued prior to the moratorium, including (HH Constructions') and there are others. So to the general public, they're going to see homes being built that they assume would not be built. That's the frustrating part," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Caldwell says he plans to submit a new bill to the Honolulu City Council in the next couple of weeks to create stricter regulations for these large homes.

He says the city is also looking into providing incentives for those who build monster homes in apartment zoning districts.

He applauds residents for keeping an eye on their own neighborhoods.

"At the end of the day, all of these cases require eyes on the ground. And the best eyes are the people living right next door," Caldwell said.

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