Committee OKs affordable accessory dwelling bill

Adding to the list of Don Couch’s successes for the people of Maui, he recently championed a bill called the affordable accessory dwelling bill through the Planning Committee.  The full press release from the Maui County Council is below it its entirety.

WAILUKU, Hawaii – The affordable accessory dwelling bill, which would permit ohana units on certain smaller lots, gained unanimous committee support and now heads to the full council for first reading, Planning Committee Chair Don Couch announced today.


The bill establishes “affordable accessory dwellings” as a permitted use on lots that are smaller than 7,500 square feet in the residential, apartment, hotel, interim zoning and state land use rural district. Previously, an accessory dwelling could only be built on a lot that is 7,500 square feet or more in area.

“This bill is a step toward increasing the critical housing shortage in our county,” Couch said. “It would allow an ohana unit to be built on a smaller sized lot and thereby expand affordable housing alternatives we so desperately need.”

Under the bill, the affordable accessory dwelling must accommodate the owner’s immediate family members or unrelated, income-qualified tenants earning from very low to above-moderate income. Deed restrictions would be placed on the lot to ensure affordability in perpetuity.

Couch said setting affordability restrictions would address the creation of rental housing that people can afford. To promote long-term use, no short-term rental homes or bed and breakfast homes will be allowed unless already permitted.

The bill also allows a second accessory dwelling on lots that are at least 15,000 square feet.

The bill was introduced by Councilmember Robert Carroll last year. Carroll made the following statement to the Planning Committee on Aug. 6, 2015:

“There’s no doubt that we need this housing. We have thousands of families waiting on a list for affordable housing.

“Many communities are using accessory dwellings to supply affordable housing. San Antonio, Seattle, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Austin, Santa Cruz, San Francisco have all adjusted their land use requirements to accommodate more affordable housing.

“I believe we have to create various options. There’s no one answer to the affordable housing crisis.

“(This concept) has worked in other communities. I hope we can give it a chance here for our families.”

The bill amends Title 19 of the Maui County Code and received comments from the Lanai, Maui and Molokai planning commissions earlier this year.

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