Property owners who want to make repairs to existing elements of their homes would be exempt from Honolulu’s permitting process under a bill proposed by Honolulu City Council Member Andria Tupola.

In a news release, Tupola said she introduced Bill 56 to make it easier for homeowners to replace components of existing work.

Honolulu City Council member Andria Tupola.
Honolulu City Council Member Andria Tupola is working on DPP reforms.  Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Under current law, property owners have to apply for a permit from the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting for any repairs that exceed $5,000, an amount Tupola said is arbitrary.

“The monetary amount is outdated, especially in 2022, as the cost of materials and labor have increased due to record inflation,” Tupola said in a statement.

“It is reasonable that homeowners be allowed to perform basic repairs to their bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas within their homes, without the need for a permit – especially when the permitting process has been unfairly burdensome and excessively difficult.”

Applicants are currently waiting months, and in some cases years, for permits from DPP. The department has long struggled to meet community demand because of antiquated technology and understaffing, but the situation has grown especially acute this year.

The bill is scheduled for a first reading at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. It is the first of several bills Tupola said she is preparing to respond to community concerns about DPP.

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