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Governor's Housing Program (Astrid Monson)
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Governor's Housing Program

At long last a comprehensive program to meet the long recognized need for tens of thousands of homes for low to moderate income families has been presented to the legislature. League in a letter to the Editor published 2/18, congratulated Governor Waihee for proposing the plan and urged the Legislature to use our one-time State fiscal surplus to implement the program since we might never have another chance like this.

The core of the plan is the public purchase, by negotiation or condemnation if necessary, of 4,000 acres of vacant subdivided land in Ewa. The State or other public agency would put in drainage, water, sewage, streets and other needed public facilities and then lease or sell sites to private builders, other public agencies, non-profit cooperatives, self-help groups, or anyone else undertaking to build housing according to the plan and providing significant proportions of housing for low to moderate income and gap group families.

In this way the speculative increases in land values resulting from land subdivision and public improvements would be eliminated and land costs would be kept at cost levels. Many small builders who cannot become large land developers, but can build homes at a reasonable construction profit can be brought into the process. Special housing needs... rental housing, apartments for the elderly, etc... can be met.

League pointed out that unlike Waiola Estates, which we opposed, this program is in accordance with basic General Plan and land use policies for a "secondary urban center: in Ewa. Land not immediately needed for development can be "land-banked" and kept in productive agricultural use for some years to come.

This program is in accordance with the long urged approach of League for the provision of housing for all income levels without the needless destruction of agriculture and other open spaces. We have consistently opposed the up-zoning of additional quantities of privately owned land for subdivision development, particularly since as of 6/30/87 there was enough such vacant land already Develop-Plan designated for housing to accommodate at least 47,000 homes... enough to house the projected population growth till at least the year 2005.

Since experience has shown that such land will be developed primarily for market housing meeting the needs of income groups of $40,000 plus, we have felt that it is only through an approach along the lines the Governor's program proposes, , that it will be possible to meet the needs of the 60% or more of the population with, incomes below that level.

We can now look forward to development of the "Secondary Urban Center" in Ewa as a balanced, planned community providing industrial and commercial jobs as well as housing, transit, and other needed Urban facilities for a population of 150,000 or 200,000, thus carrying out the General Plan's major objectives for the accommodation of a large share of the island's growth for the rest of the 20th Century and the early years of the 21st.

Astrid Monson
Co-Chair, Planning/Zoning

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