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Governor Green has taken a significant step towards addressing Hawaii’s housing crisis by signing the second Emergency Proclamation on Affordable Housing. This proclamation focuses on eliminating barriers to affordable housing development and prioritizes state and county projects that aim to create thousands of low-income and workforce housing units throughout Hawaii. By clarifying its purpose, Governor Green ensures that the proclamation is centered on helping families affected by the housing crisis. The updated proclamation includes various changes, such as reinstating the state Sunshine Law for working group meetings and restoring laws related to historic preservation and environmental impact statements. These revisions align with the administration’s unwavering commitment to cut red tape and build more affordable homes for Hawaii residents.

Governor Green updates Emergency Proclamation on housing

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Highlights of the Emergency Proclamation

The recent Emergency Proclamation (EP) issued by Governor Josh Green has introduced several key changes aimed at tackling Hawaiʻi’s long-standing housing crisis. The highlights of the proclamation include the addition of ‘affordable’ housing to the title, the exclusion of the area affected by the Lahaina wildfires, the reinstatement of the state Sunshine Law, the restoration of HRS Chapter 6E and HRS Chapter 343, and the rescission of exemption for certain real estate projects. These changes reflect Governor Green’s commitment to prioritizing affordable housing and addressing the challenges faced by Hawaiʻi residents.

Addition of ‘affordable’ housing to the title

One of the significant changes in the EP is the addition of the term ‘affordable’ housing to the title. This change reinforces the focus of the Build Beyond Barriers Working Group on advancing affordable housing development in Hawaiʻi. By explicitly stating the goal of the EP, it highlights the administration’s commitment to addressing the housing crisis and helping families affected by it.

Exclusion of the area affected by Lahaina wildfires

The EP also clarifies that it does not apply to the region of Lahaina, which was affected by the devastating wildfires. The boundaries of the exclusion area are marked by the state’s Lahaina wildfire map. This change ensures that the rebuilding process in Lahaina is facilitated based on the timeline chosen by the residents. It recognizes the importance of respecting the affected community and allowing them to recover at their own pace.

Reinstatement of the state Sunshine Law

To ensure transparency and accountability, the EP reinstates the state Sunshine Law for Build Beyond Barriers Working Group meetings. Meetings will now be conducted in accordance with the Sunshine Law, and they will be virtual to enhance accessibility. Testifiers will have a strict two-minute time limit to summarize their written or verbal testimony, allowing for efficient and focused discussions on the agenda items. This change promotes openness and encourages public participation in decision-making processes.

Restoration of HRS Chapter 6E and HRS Chapter 343

Another significant aspect of the EP is the restoration of HRS Chapter 6E, which relates to the Historic Preservation Law, and HRS Chapter 343, which pertains to Environmental Impact Statements. These chapters play crucial roles in preserving the cultural and environmental integrity of Hawaiʻi. By reinstating them, the EP emphasizes the importance of considering historic preservation and environmental impact in housing development projects.

Rescission of exemption for certain real estate projects

The EP rescinds the exemption for projects larger than 15 acres and less than 100 acres from going before the state Land Use Commission for zoning and other approvals. This provision, after careful analysis, was found to benefit only a few private real estate projects. By revoking this exemption, the EP ensures that all projects, regardless of size, undergo proper review and assessment by the Land Use Commission, contributing to a fair and standardized approval process.

Governor Green’s commitment to affordable housing

Governor Green reiterates his unwavering commitment to affordable housing in Hawaiʻi. The recent changes in the EP reflect the administration’s dedication to cutting red tape and streamlining processes to build more affordable homes for Hawaiʻi residents. By focusing on affordable housing, the EP aligns with the administration’s goal of addressing the housing crisis and improving the quality of life for all residents.

Background of the Emergency Proclamation

The Emergency Proclamation on Affordable Housing is a continuation of the work initiated by the Green Administration and housing stakeholders to eliminate barriers to affordable housing development in Hawaiʻi. Recognizing the decades-long housing crisis in the state, the administration has been proactive in identifying and addressing the challenges faced by Hawaiʻi residents in finding affordable homes.

Efforts to eliminate barriers to affordable housing have been a top priority for the Green Administration. By engaging with various stakeholders, including housing advocates, community organizations, and developers, the administration has sought to understand the complex issues surrounding housing affordability and identify solutions that can make a tangible impact.

A key focus of the administration’s efforts has been on creating low-income and workforce housing units. These housing units are vital for providing affordable options to individuals and families with different income levels. By increasing the availability of such housing, the administration aims to reduce the burden on residents struggling to find suitable and affordable accommodations.

The Emergency Proclamation builds on these ongoing efforts and introduces changes that further prioritize affordable housing development in the state. By recognizing the urgency of the housing crisis and the need for immediate action, the administration aims to make significant progress in addressing the housing needs of Hawaiʻi residents.

Explanation of the Changes in the EP

Addition of ‘affordable’ housing to the title

The inclusion of the term ‘affordable’ housing in the title of the Emergency Proclamation reinforces the primary objective of the proclamation. By explicitly stating that the EP is focused on affordable housing, it ensures that the administration’s commitment to addressing the housing crisis remains clear. This change also serves as a reminder of the overarching goal of the EP, which is to provide affordable housing options for all residents of Hawaiʻi.

Exclusion of Lahaina wildfire-affected area

The EP clarifies that it does not apply to the area affected by the Lahaina wildfires. The boundaries of the exclusion area are defined by the state’s Lahaina wildfire map. This change recognizes the unique challenges faced by the Lahaina community in the aftermath of the wildfires. It ensures that the rebuilding process in Lahaina is conducted in a manner that respects the affected residents and allows them to determine the timeline for their recovery. By excluding the Lahaina area from the provisions of the EP, the administration acknowledges the need for tailored approaches to address specific circumstances.

Reinstatement of the Sunshine Law for meetings

The EP reinstates the state Sunshine Law for the Build Beyond Barriers Working Group meetings. Under the Sunshine Law, meetings must be conducted in an open and transparent manner, allowing for public observation and participation. By adhering to the Sunshine Law, the administration aims to foster accountability and ensure that the decision-making process is accessible to all. The virtual nature of the meetings further enhances accessibility, enabling more individuals to participate without geographical limitations. With a strict two-minute time limit for testifiers to summarize their testimony, the administration seeks to streamline the meetings and facilitate focused discussions on agenda items.

Restoration of HRS Chapter 6E and HRS Chapter 343

The restoration of HRS Chapter 6E, which relates to the Historic Preservation Law, and HRS Chapter 343, which pertains to Environmental Impact Statements, highlights the administration’s commitment to preserving the cultural and environmental integrity of Hawaiʻi. These chapters provide critical guidelines and regulations to safeguard historical sites and assess the environmental impact of development projects. By restoring these chapters, the EP ensures that the principles of historic preservation and environmental responsibility are incorporated into the affordable housing development process.

Rescission of exemption for certain real estate projects

The EP rescinds the exemption that allowed projects larger than 15 acres and less than 100 acres to bypass the state Land Use Commission for zoning and other approvals. While this exemption was initially intended to expedite the development process for certain projects, it was found to benefit only a few private real estate projects. By revoking this exemption, the administration aims to promote fairness and standardization in the approval process. All projects, regardless of their size, will now undergo a thorough review by the Land Use Commission, ensuring that all relevant factors are considered in the decision-making process.

Impact of the EP Changes

The changes introduced in the Emergency Proclamation have a significant impact on affordable housing development and address various aspects related to housing in Hawaiʻi. These changes can be summarized as follows:

Emphasis on affordable housing development

With the addition of ‘affordable’ housing to the title of the EP, there is a clear emphasis on prioritizing and advancing affordable housing development. This emphasis ensures that the administration’s efforts are focused on creating housing options that are accessible and affordable for all residents of Hawaiʻi. By consistently reinforcing the importance of affordability, the EP seeks to address the underlying causes of the housing crisis in the state.

Respecting the rebuilding process in Lahaina

The exclusion of the area affected by the Lahaina wildfires recognizes the unique circumstances faced by the Lahaina community. By allowing the residents of Lahaina to determine the timeline for their rebuilding process, the EP demonstrates a respectful and considerate approach to assisting the affected community. This change ensures that the rebuilding efforts in Lahaina align with the needs and preferences of the residents, facilitating a more inclusive and community-driven recovery process.

Transparent and accountable Build Beyond Barriers meetings

The reinstatement of the Sunshine Law for Build Beyond Barriers Working Group meetings ensures transparency and accountability in the decision-making process. By conducting the meetings in accordance with the Sunshine Law, the administration facilitates public participation and observation. The virtual nature of the meetings further enhances accessibility, allowing individuals from different parts of the state to contribute to the discussions. The strict two-minute time limit for testifiers encourages concise and focused testimonies, enabling efficient and productive meetings.

Preservation of historic sites

The restoration of HRS Chapter 6E, which relates to the Historic Preservation Law, reaffirms the administration’s commitment to preserving the cultural and historical integrity of Hawaiʻi. By incorporating historic preservation guidelines, the EP ensures that the development of affordable housing takes into account the significance of historical sites. This commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of the state contributes to the overall identity and aesthetics of communities in Hawaiʻi.

Consideration of environmental impact

The restoration of HRS Chapter 343, which pertains to Environmental Impact Statements, highlights the administration’s dedication to environmental responsibility. By requiring the assessment of environmental impact in housing development projects, the EP ensures that potential ecological consequences are thoroughly evaluated. This consideration of environmental impact supports the sustainability and resilience of communities in Hawaiʻi, safeguarding natural resources for future generations.

Commitment to Affordable Housing

Governor Green’s commitment to affordable housing in Hawaiʻi remains unwavering. The recent changes in the Emergency Proclamation reflect the administration’s determination to cut red tape and streamline processes, fostering the development of more affordable homes for Hawaiʻi residents.

Efforts to reduce bureaucracy and streamline processes are crucial in addressing the housing crisis. The administration recognizes the importance of creating an enabling environment that facilitates affordable housing development. By identifying and eliminating unnecessary barriers, the administration aims to expedite the construction of affordable homes and increase their availability throughout the state.

Building more affordable homes for Hawaiʻi residents is at the core of Governor Green’s vision for the state. By aligning policies, regulations, and resources, the administration seeks to create a supportive ecosystem that encourages investment in affordable housing projects. The administration understands that affordable housing is not just about providing shelter but also about improving the overall quality of life for residents.

The commitment to affordable housing goes beyond short-term solutions. The administration is focused on implementing sustainable strategies that can address the long-term housing needs of Hawaiʻi residents. By fostering collaboration between government agencies, housing advocates, and developers, the administration aims to identify innovative approaches that can effectively and efficiently address the unique housing challenges faced by the state.

Governor Green’s dedication to affordable housing is rooted in the belief that every resident of Hawaiʻi deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The administration’s unwavering commitment serves as a guiding principle in shaping policies and initiatives that prioritize affordable housing as a fundamental driver of community well-being and economic stability.

Conclusion

The recent Emergency Proclamation on Affordable Housing introduced by Governor Josh Green reflects a comprehensive and determined effort to address the housing crisis in Hawaiʻi. By prioritizing affordable housing development, the administration aims to create thousands of new low-income and workforce housing units throughout the state.

The changes in the EP, such as the addition of ‘affordable’ housing to the title, the exclusion of the area affected by the Lahaina wildfires, the reinstatement of the state Sunshine Law, the restoration of HRS Chapter 6E and HRS Chapter 343, and the rescission of exemption for certain real estate projects, underscore the administration’s commitment to streamlining processes, preserving cultural heritage, and considering environmental impact.

The impact of the EP changes is far-reaching, emphasizing the importance of affordable housing development, respecting community needs, promoting transparency and accountability, preserving historic sites, and considering environmental sustainability. These changes contribute to the administration’s holistic approach to addressing the housing crisis and improving the overall quality of life for Hawaiʻi residents.

Governor Green’s unwavering commitment to affordable housing remains at the forefront of the administration’s efforts. By reducing bureaucracy and streamlining processes, the administration aims to build more affordable homes for Hawaiʻi residents. The vision for affordable housing in the state extends beyond immediate solutions, with a focus on long-term strategies that can meet the evolving housing needs of the community.

The Emergency Proclamation on Affordable Housing represents a significant step forward in addressing the housing crisis in Hawaiʻi. Through collaboration and a steadfast commitment, the administration aims to transform the housing landscape, providing affordable and sustainable homes for all residents of the state.