Bills address accessory dwelling units

Bills address accessory dwelling units
Published: Mar. 12, 2015 at 8:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three bills moving through City Council could reshape the way accessory dwelling units – or ADU's - are built, and inhabited, in Honolulu.

Two of the bills deal with zoning, and making ADU's more achievable for homeowners and renters alike. The third bill cracks down on illegal vacation rentals.

"Cottages, garage additions, additions on your family rooms, that type stuff" said City TOD Administrator Harrison Rue.

It's a way for homeowners help ease the affordable housing crunch - building accessory dwelling units on their properties for long term rentals. Bills 20 and 21 aim to accomplish that by altering current zoning regulations to encourage construction.

"We're making it a little simpler so you only need to require one parking space for a basic ADU, and if you're within one half mile within a rail station, no parking required" said Rue.

Bill 20 is Mayor Kirk Caldwell's. 21 was introduced by Councilman Ron Menor.

There are differences between the two. Rue says either bill will be a benefit to consumers, though he leans towards the mayor's.

"It has a potential for really solving the rental housing problem for a lot of people, providing affordable housing, providing extra income for homeowners and I think for small builders opens up a market opportunity as well".

Bill 22 cracks down on illegal vacation rentals. Pre-existing units would be allowed to continue to operate - provided they obtain proper certification and meet certain criteria.

Also, advertisements would have to include addresses, so the city could locate and enforce those conditions.

"Some people complain 'geez, I gotta pay taxes on my unit but people don't'. It's pretty complex, it covers a lot of different areas" said Rue.

All three of the bills passed their first reading and move on to the committee on zoning and planning.

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