The state agency that’s in charge of managing development in Kakaako may alter its rules in an attempt to provide more lower-priced housing.
During a public hearing Wednesday, Hawaii Community Development Authority Executive Director Anthony Ching presented the results of an investigative report on the agency’s housing rules conducted by three HCDA board members.
The report’s recommendations include making reserved housing — the units that developers are required to provide in exchange for building in Kakaako — affordable for residents earning 80 to 120 percent of area median income. That’s equal to $66,080 to $99,120 for a family of four, or $46,256 to $69,384 for an individual.
Currently, HCDA defines reserved housing as units that are affordable to people earning up to 140 percent of area median income, or $115,640 for a family of four and $80,948 for an individual. While Ching has previously defended that ceiling, many have criticized it as far too high.
HCDA is in charge of development in Kakaako, where more high-rises have been sprouting up this year.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
The report recommended keeping housing affordable longer by extending the regulated period for reserved housing units up to 30 years, six times the current time period required of for-sale units.
The report also suggested that HCDA encourage more rental housing in Kakaako, and require that developers of commercial projects that pay employees less than 60 percent of area median income ($34,692 or less) provide low-income housing units or cash in lieu.
About 42 percent of Hawaii households rent rather than own their homes, and a 2011 state housing study found the demand for rental units exceeds that of for-sale units for households earning less than 120 percent of area median income.
Other recommendations included ways for HCDA to work with the City & County of Honolulu to provide more affordable housing and policy suggestions for the Legislature and Congress to gain more funding for low-income units.
The board still has to decide whether or not to adopt the recommendations, and Ching said it could take a year to change HCDA’s rules. In the meantime, the board is still considering major projects, including a 446-unit high-rise by Howard Hughes Corp. which has a public hearing scheduled for Thursday.