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Molina: Stop the talk and start building affordable rental housing

By Staff | Jun 20, 2019

WAILUKU – Maui County Councilman Michael J. Molina last week transmitted a proposal to Mayor Michael Victorino and Housing and Human Concerns Director Lori Tsuhako identified as a “Call to Action” for the building of affordable rental housing.

The document requests the mayor and administration to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop affordable rental housing.

The proposal by the Makawao, Haiku and Paia District councilman would use county resources to assist with the creation of affordable rental housing.

“For as long as I can remember, elected officials, non-profits, for-profits, developers and industry types have discussed the issues surrounding the development of affordable housing,” said Molina. “The time for action is now!

“We know the hurdles to building affordable housing are land costs, infrastructure, permit fees, processing permits and required studies,” added Molina. “We don’t need to hear this again – the county has the ability to make these hurdles less burdensome.”

Elements of the “Call to Action” include:

The County of Maui shall issue an RFP to build affordable rental housing on county-owned land.

The county will identify a number of sites owned by the County of Maui that a developer or contractor can use to build the affordable rental housing projects.

The proposed developer or contractor shall submit a proposal to the county for a potential affordable rental housing project on a county-owned parcel they believe is appropriate for the proposed project.

The County of Maui will review each of the proposals and award the contract to the winning proposal, subject to administration and council review.

In turn, the County of Maui will award the winning proposal access to land via ownership or an extended land lease for a minimal fee; a grant to be determined ($5,000,000 to $20,000,000) to assist with design, infrastructure and construction of the project; waive most or all permit fees; expedite the processing of permits; and waive all real property taxes for the entire lease or a timeline agreed to by the parties.

Molina said his proposal utilizes resources available to the county, such as land, permit fee exemption, expedited processing, real property taxes and revenue.

“All these resources can be leveraged by the county to create a partnership for the development of affordable housing,” Molina said.

During deliberations for the county’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget, both the mayor and council added over $10 million for the purpose of affordable housing over the previous year’s budget.

“The resources are there – it’s time to use them,” said Molina. “We can continue to talk or start building. I say, let’s start building.”

For more information, contact Councilman Molina at mike.molina@mauicounty.us or 270-5507.