April 1999 Home   Newsletters

May 1999

June-July 1999

State Convention 1999 (Jean Aoki)
President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Welcome! (Annie Kim)
Brief Annual Meeting Report (Grace Furukawa)
Report on Mail-In Voting Consensus (Jean Aoki)
Council Adopts New Zoning Ordinance (Astrid Monson)
Next Millennium Conference Ending Domestic Violence (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Violence Prevention Committee (Annelle Amaral)
In Memory - Sylvia Levy
Americans Discuss Social Security (Jean Aoki)
Just for Fun
LWV-Honolulu Officers and Committee Chairs

Council Adopts New Zoning Ordinance

On April 28,1999, the Honolulu City Council approved in an 8-1 vote Bill 72, CD-2, a considerably revised Land Use Ordinance (LUO). This law contains detailed provisions regulating all types of uses of land. The new law represents a total revision of the LUO previously enacted in 1986. The new ordinance contains many provisions League and other community organizations opposed though the final draft, as passed, has been improved over earlier drafts.

Early in 1997, the city Administration decided to make a major revision of the LUO to "streamline" it and make it more "user-friendly". An advisory committee, including the League, made a number of recommendations. But, early in 1998, the city administration appointed a new committee, headed by well-known local lawyer Bill McCorreston to start again on revising the LUO. This new committee proposed wholesale amendments to the LUO, changing the whole land use application and review processes.

On the basis of this Report, the DLU wrote Bill 72 as a completely new LUO. This "improved" the 1986 document of double-spaced 375 pages into a 443 single-spaced bill. The revised code revised or omitted a number of the 1982 LUO's provisions and procedures, eliminated others, included many new ones, and thoroughly re-organized the ordinance.

Objections were raised, particularly to a provision mandating automatic permitting after 45 or 90 days. League testified throughout the review and on April 28, before the third and final reading of the bill, our new Planning and Zoning co-chair, Michelle Matson, testified in part:

'We feel that the consultant's report of June, 1988 was written primarily from the development point of view and mostly recommended easing development regulation but shortening public opportunity to make a useful impact on debatable questions.

"We compliment Zoning Chair Donna Kim and other council members who worked hard and long to make the bill more balanced in relation to the desires of those concerned with the environment and neighborhood hopes for stability and compatibility of land uses allowed in their community.

"We also compliment Council member Kim on the many changes she lists in her April 12, 1999, memo. These changed some of the procedural and processing provisions in Bill 72 CD 1 which we felt would have put community interests at a disadvantage in relation to those submitting applications for various approvals.

"In spite of these changes, we feel that Bill 72 CD-2 is unbalanced in that preference is given to development interest over protection of neighborhoods and the environment. For example, the changing of various land uses now requiring a major permit to minor and exempting of various uses now requiring a minor permit to what is essentially administrative approval without public discussion, are, we feel, too broad.

We submit that hasty stream-lining may weaken our land use controls in ways we may later regret. We suggest that in something like six months we look again at what we have done. Meanwhile, we can only register our concerns that a bill so strongly affecting all of us, and based upon such a one sided approach, may be adopted while so many questions remain."

Astrid Monson
Planning and Zoning Co-Chair

The revision of the LUO is the second major action relating to City land use regulations made in the name of "streamlining City government." The first, the merging of the planning and zoning functions into a new Planning and Permitting Department, was adopted by popular vote last November as an amendment to the City Charter.

In the April, 1999, Aloha Voter we reported on the background of this merger and the League s opposition to it.

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