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April 9, 2007

City and County of Honolulu Planning Commission
650 South King Street, 7th Floor
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Re: Zone Change Request for 21st Century Homes, Inc. Hawaii Kai Drive

The most publicized area of concern about this project is the change in zoning to increase the height limit from 40 to 60 feet. The League of Women Voters of Honolulu is much more concerned about the required element of affordable housing. We were stunned to read that the time that units in the proposed project will be set aside for affordable housing is only ten years. When we inquired about this ridiculously short term we were informed that (1) this is City policy and (2) it was recommended by the City Department charged with helping people find affordable housing.

What happens when ten years have passed? Does everyone in these rental units receive an eviction notice? Surely you do not believe that you are contributing to solving our acute housing crisis by imposing such short-term restrictions.

If the City is truly interested in requiring developers to contribute to solving our housing problems, affordable units must stay affordable. We have a mechanism for that. It is called a community land trust. Community land trusts have been established in many cities. Under the land trust, housing units stay affordable in perpetuity. This is what Maui is doing now and what the City should be promoting.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

D. Piilani Kaopuiki, President
League of Women Voters of Honolulu

 

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