The Honolulu City Council voted 9 – 0 on Wednesday to approve an increase in fees related to building permits and approvals processed by the City’s Department of Planning and Permitting. 

Building trade associations opposed the measure, arguing that the fee increases would contribute to the perception that Hawaii is not an easy place to do business. 

“Hawaii already has a reputation as being unfriendly to developers,” David Arakawa, executive director of the Land Use Research Foundation, told council members. 

“When we encourage people to come here, we don’t want to whack them over the head with a stick.”

For instance, he noted that a development plan review could cost as much as $30,000. 

Council member Kymberly Pine countered that “a developer can make millions of dollars, so $30,000 would be a sneeze to what they would potentially make in profits for that development.”

DPP Director George Atta also defended the measure, arguing that the fees are similar to those imposed in other states and don’t completely cover the costs for the department to complete certain project reviews. 

The new fees are expected to generate $500,000 to $1 million in added revenues for DPP. 

Bill 70 , which was introduced by DPP, will now go to Mayor Kirk Caldwell for action. 


Photo: Construction in Kakaako. (PF Bentley/ Civil Beat)

— Sophie Cocke