HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu council is responding strongly to the monster home problem – with a tough new law.
It would mean criminal fines and possibly jail for anyone who continues to build a structure after getting a cease and desist order from building inspectors.
This is something we’ve been calling for months, because the city’s system of forgiving illegal work and fines after the fact was simply not working to deter outlaw contractors.
The vote was unanimous – although the mayor's office says it is still studying the bill.
He should sign it. And then get his administration to double-down on improving the performance of the planning and permitting department.
The city needs to find a way to recruit, train and retain the personnel and invest in technology to enforce this new law and those already on the books. And finally get tough on illegal vacation rentals and banned commercial activity in residential areas.
And perhaps more important – the city needs to find a way to streamline and speed up the permit approval process.
One of the big reasons people build without permits, especially smaller residential projects, is that it takes months to get permits,and time is money.
And this a city that can’t afford to make building homes cost any more than it already does.