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Honolulu City Council OKs bill requiring faster building permits for houses

  • GEORGE F. LEE / 2015

    Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin introduced Bill 64 to expedite building permits for one- and two-family houses.

A bill requiring the city to process building permits for one- and two-family houses quickly won final approval from the Honolulu City Council today, despite objections from the agency tasked with issuing the approvals.

The vote was 9-0.

Bill 64, introduced by Council Chairman Ernie Martin, was prompted by an increasing number of complaints about the permitting delays. Builders, contractors, engineers and architects say the length of time necessary to obtain permits make it difficult for them to build houses efficiently, sometimes resulting in financial losses and layoffs.

Under the bill, the Department of Planning and Permitting would be required to process applications for one- and two-family dwellings within 60 days of receiving them.

Several testifiers told Council members they need to wait a year or longer for their permits.

“We’re in a crisis right now in our industry,” said Bruce Kim, Atlas Construction Inc. president.

Kathy Sokugawa, DPP acting director, testified against the bill. Putting building permits for one category ahead of others means longer delays for those other projects – including high-rise condominiums.

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