Monster homes are gobbling up communities — and it's all legal

Monster homes are gobbling up Oahu neighborhoods — and it's all legal
Published: Oct. 19, 2017 at 6:38 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 19, 2017 at 10:35 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu has a critical shortage of housing.

But neighbors of so-called "monster homes" being built in single-family neighborhoods around Oahu say the sprawling properties aren't the answer.

"I feel we need to do something about the properties that are going up. Three-story properties, multiple bedrooms. Excessive amounts of bedrooms," said Melissa Maii, who bought a home in Kaimuki in 2001 because of the incredible view of the ocean and Diamond Head.

That view is obstructed now thanks to a three-story home being built on a single lot behind her property.

Plans say there will be two three-story buildings on the 10,500-square-foot lot, totaling 16 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and numerous wet bars.

And it's all legal.

These types of properties are called "large residential structures" — or homes that have 8 bedrooms or more.

Complaints from neighbors range from blocked views to parking issues to the sheer size of the projects.

But the owner of the Koko Drive property going up behind Maii's home said he's doing everything right.

He also said the big property is all for his family.

"This is not for rent," he said, adding that he's addressed parking concerns to ensure tenants have spaces on the property.

Monster homes are fine, as long as all of the residents are related.

But the 16-bedroom Koko Drive property isn't the only "large residential structure" sprouting up around town.

A home at 1340 10th Ave. will have 18 bedrooms. And a home at 1819 Houghtailing St. has 28.

City Councilman Trevor Ozawa said the situation has gotten out of hand.

"We're trying to stop this on the front-end of the process when people apply for building permits," he said.

Ozawa wants property owners who want to erect monster homes to appear before the City Council.

The public hearing would be triggered by how many bedrooms the home would have.

"They got to come in at a certain point before the City Council, which would be my proposal, and come in and explain themselves: Why do you need 29 bedrooms?" Ozawa said.

Ozawa hopes to get a hearing on his measure next week in the council's Zoning and Housing Committee.

But if Ozawa's measure becomes law, it will be too late for Maii.

"I don't want Hawaii to be this," she said, pointing at the 16-bedroom home under construction across from her lanai.

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