For immediate release: November 2, 2016
Press release by:
Councilmember Elle Cochran
Maui County Council
Cochran proposes ohana units be used for long-term affordable housing
WAILUKU, Hawaii – Councilmember Elle Cochran today announced she has introduced a proposal to prioritize the use of accessory dwelling units, sometimes called ohana units, for long-term tenants.
On Thursday, the council’s Planning Committee will consider a proposed bill to allow a new use called “affordable accessory dwellings” on lots up to 7,499 square feet in certain zoning districts, Cochran said. The bill would also allow a second accessory dwelling on lots over 15,000 square feet.
“While I applaud the bill’s intent, I have today introduced an amendment to strengthen the bill by prohibiting accessory dwellings from use as a bed and breakfast home or a short-term rental home, unless there’s an existing permit or a new permit is obtained during a grace period,” Cochran said. “In this way, more housing will be available for long-term use.”
Cochran said the bill is intended to promote long-term housing at a more affordable rental rate. It is one of a number of methods the council is considering to expand housing inventory in the county.
“The bill has enormous potential for owners of lots previously considered too small to further develop,” Cochran said. “My amendment would simply close a loophole. I don’t want to see the good intentions of the bill diluted by short-term rentals, which would undercut the target population we are trying to provide housing for.”
Cochran’s amendment is available at mauicounty.us/cochran. Testimony may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing PC-28.
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A good start would be ENFORCEMENT of existing laws regulating the number of B&B’s and short term rentals allowable in each district: particularly on ag zoned land where there are advertised, ongoing flagrant violations. Enforcement of existing regulations alone would free up hundreds if not thousands of cottages and Ohana for local residents needing a home, rather than short-term visitors!
Without the will and ability to enforce, additional units would not effectively meet the community goals.