Mayor Michael Victorino answers weekly questions submitted to his office staff.
Question: With the affordable housing shortage and all of these two-acre parcels only allowed to have one main house and an ohana, can we consider allowing another ohana on each property, where at least one of the two is required for long-term rental? I realize septic systems would need to be updated, and perhaps if properties are tied to municipal waste collection, they could not qualify if adding another house overstressed the system.
Answer: Mahalo for your thoughtful question. With the passage of the “ohana bill” that increased the size and number of permitted ohanas in only the residential and rural zoning districts, people have often asked us if the same will be proposed for agricultural districts.
This, however, involves different policies and principles than just the ohana bill. There may be support to increase the size of the second farm dwelling or to allow for additional dwellings for true farm labor. But it’s an entirely different question to allow more dwellings for the sake of addressing the housing shortage by further converting agricultural areas to “Ag” in name but residential in function.
We should remember that any changes would require an amendment to the County agricultural zoning district, and such change would have to be consistent with the State agricultural district. The amendment would have to be reviewed by the three planning commissions and then be adopted by the Maui County Council.
As you can see, this can be a complex process and one that we would need to get input from the general public as well as the agricultural community to see if there is any consensus before making any proposed changes. I can tell you, though, that we are making strides toward boosting affordable housing as well as supporting diversified agricultural throughout Maui County.
Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email [email protected]