Honolulu City Council Advances "Monster Homes" Bill: Special Meeting Monday

Jan 31, 2018

"Monster Home" with 19 bedrooms and 11 baths in Kaimuki
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

The Honolulu City Council advanced a measure calling for a moratorium on “Monster Homes.”  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

The current version of Bill 110 would temporarily stop the issuance of building permits for homes larger than 3,500 square feet.  All exceptions would have to be approved by the Honolulu City Council.  Alexander and Baldwin Properties senior vice president, Alan Arakawa, testified on the bill and says it would impact residential lot owners the most.

Alan Arakawa, senior VP for Alexander & Baldwin properties supports floor area ratio to determine house size.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

“We think that lot size should be factored into the establishment of maximum building size.  Floor area ration or FAR as suggested by DPP, we think, is appropriate and reasonable.”

Businessman Victor Young supports the moratorium on Monster Homes but doesn’t support Bill 110 as currently written.

“A lot of families are consolidating homes.  They are actually moving in with their kupuna to maybe take care of them in the future.  And if there’s a stop in permits for two years just to do this research, it will, number one, hurt the economy and actually not help the situation itself.”

Councilmember Trevor Ozawa drafted an amendment to the bill which he plans to introduce at the next Planning Committee Hearing.  His version will base house size on floor area ratio, FAR.

“Utilizing FAR is the fairest way to determine the size of the house and property.  This will allow property owners the ability to construct a reasonably sized home on small lots and wouldn’t punish property owners who have larger lots.”

But, City Council Planning Committee chair, Ikaika Anderson, says he’s willing to revisit the floor area ratio proposal, which he believes could be difficult.

A special Planning Committee meeting is scheduled Monday
Credit w

“Some of these smaller properties, the R-3.5 which allow one dwelling per 35-hundred square foot of lot area; R-5, which allow one dwelling per 5-thousand square feet of lot area; R-7.5, which allows one dwelling per 7,500 square feet of lot area; would be rather small.  That said, as the chair of the committee, I’m willing to take another look at that as we take this measure back to committee.”

A special meeting for the Planning Committee and Bill 110 is scheduled for Monday.   Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.