We often get calls and emails from people on island and off who want to build a home of their own on the island and we have to tell them it will take a long time due to a key factor, and that is getting through the permitting process with the County. I have been working with a housing task force with the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce for over a year to keep in contact with the Mayor on streamlining the permitting process. Good news today as he signed a new bill to do just that!
Hawaiʻi County Code Amended To Streamline The Construction Code Permitting Processes
Mayor Mitch Roth has signed Bill 84 into law, amending the Hawaiʻi County Code to streamline the construction code permitting processes. The ordinance simplifies and standardizes application timelines, extensions, and expirations to align with updated construction code standards mandated by State law.
“We’ve dedicated ourselves to fixing the building permitting process for our residents, and this bill is a significant step in achieving that goal,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Recognizing the challenges posed by factors such as COVID-19 and subsequent inflation, we aim to alleviate prolonged building processes and burdens on local homebuilders. The bill establishes a structured and time-sensitive framework for permit applications, expirations, and extensions to streamline the process and provide clarity on timelines, conditions, and limits.”
The key provisions of the ordinance include:
- Purpose: Aligning construction projects with current safety standards, the ordinance simplifies and standardizes timing elements for construction code permits.
- Amendments to Chapter 5, Article 4, Section 5-4-7: The ordinance introduces a one-hundred-eighty-day timeline from the submission date for applicants to obtain a permit. It outlines provisions for extensions and the process for restarting an application if abandoned.
- Amendments to Chapter 5, Article 5, Section 5-5-4: Standardizing permit expiration, the ordinance sets a six-year expiration period for permits issued after August 17, 2020, outlining conditions and steps upon expiration.
- Amendments to Chapter 5, Article 5, Section 5-5-5: The ordinance addresses permit extensions, specifying circumstances for granting extensions and setting a limit of one extension for one hundred and eighty days.
“When drafting this bill with the Department of Public Works, we revisited the fundamental purpose of building codes and their timelines: Ensuring the safety of the building in our community,” said Council Chair Heather Kimball. “Bill 84 removes language that was ambiguous, discretionary, or not aligned with its purpose. The result is a streamlined procedure that I hope the public will find easy to understand and reasonable to follow. To me, working on Bill 84 represents the best example of creative problem-solving and collaboration between the administration and the council for the benefit of the community.”
Councilmember Lee Loy added, “With inflation on the rise, this Bill also helps homeowners and lenders have a bright line of understanding on approval timelines.”
Mayor Roth extends his gratitude to the County’s DPW team and Councilmembers Sue Lee Loy and Heather Kimball for their contributions to improving our building permitting process and community at large.
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