05 Nov

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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13 Dec

Welcome to!

It is an honor to serve our community.  I want to give a big mahalo for all the support!

While the work has been demanding, I have also found that being in a position to truly serve our residents has been extremely rewarding.

I believe my work as the Council’s Planning Committee Chair and my service to both the countywide community and especially my South Maui constituency is helping to move Maui County in a positive direction.

As always, my door is always open to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.



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19 Nov

Continued common sense on Maui County Council


As I run for re-election to the South Maui seat on the Maui County Council, some voters may ask why they should continue to vote for me. Here’s my answer to that question.

I am running for re-election to the County Council because we need a vibrant economy that supplies the jobs that allow our families to prosper. And to do that we need to supply the water that our growing community needs. Without new water sources, our economy will fail; there will be no new affordable homes; and no new farms to provide sustainability. New water sources are essential. This is a key goal of mine, one that I will continue to focus on until we actually have the resources we must have.

I am running because there is a need for continued common sense in the way we operate the county government. We have nearly strangled ourselves with rules and regulations. Common sense says that we need to get government out of the way, especially for everyday folks and for the small businesses that provide so much of our economy. I have applied that philosophy as the Chair of the Planning Committee, and I was at the center of the committee’s passage of legislation that removes some hindrances in getting permits processed in a timely manner.

I am running for re-election to the South Maui Council seat because the South Maui community wants to continue to be represented by someone who is actively engaged with the community, someone who truly understands its issues, and who addresses its problems with an open mind and will listen to all sides of an issue before acting. The community has told me that they appreciate someone who opens his office door and meets with them.

I am running for re-election to the South Maui seat on the County Council because that is the continuation of my service to this community that I love so much. For the 25+ years I have lived on Maui, I have always felt like I was the luckiest guy on earth to be able to call Maui my home. I feel a deep personal connection to Maui and its people and want to continue contributing to making Maui County an even better place to live. I have done that by helping start community television on Maui; by serving as the Chair of the County Board of Ethics; as the board president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui; on the board of the Kihei Community Association; being a morning radio host; as Executive Assistant to Mayor Arakawa; as the Deputy County Planning Director; and as your South Maui representative to the Maui County Council.

The voters want to return to the financial stability that jobs bring. Maui residents want a strong economy that they can count on to create jobs so that they can provide for their families and create a better quality of life without destroying what makes Maui County such a wonderful place to live. That’s why I believe that finding balance is the key to our future. That’s why we need to balance the need for a vibrant economy with the need to protect and enhance our environment. That’s why I am “pro” a balanced future.

I am humbled by my community’s expression of support and will do everything in my power to live up to the trust South Maui voters, and all of the voters of Maui County, have put in me.


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