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Hawaii: governor suspends land-use regulations for one year
Declares state of emergency due to housing scarcity
From the linked article, by Stewart Yerton in the Honolulu Civil Beat:
Hawaii could see construction of 50,000 new homes over the next three to five years for residents of all income levels if an executive order issued Monday by Gov. Josh Green achieves its intended purpose. The order suspends a half dozen state and county laws, primarily focusing on land use, historic preservation and environmental review.
The suspension is in place for one year, and projects approved during this time have three years to begin construction. Approvals will be handled by a 22-person state-level panel led by Nani Medeiros, Hawaii’s chief housing officer.
Why this is happening:
The proclamation catalogs a litany of problems caused by housing prices that are among the nation’s highest and three times the national average. Essential workers like teachers and nurses can’t afford to live here. A decline in the Native Hawaiian population means more Native Hawaiians live on the mainland than in Hawaii. And, according to the proclamation, there are “one-quarter of our residents at risk of becoming homeless.”
“Let me break it down for you,” Green said at a press conference in his briefing room, where he signed the order. “We don’t have enough houses for our people. It’s really that simple.”
Citing a shortage of first responders, teachers and health care workers needed to serve the community, Green said, “If it’s not a crisis, if it’s not an emergency, I don’t know what is.”