Five housing developments on Maui and Oahu were found to be in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Fifteen Hawaii developers have agreed to settle a lawsuit for $120,000 after the Justice Department accused them of failing to build multiple housing complexes with required accessibility features for people with disabilities.

The developers will also be required to make “extensive retrofits” at the developments, which include four properties on Maui and one on Oahu. 

The Justice Department sued the developers in 2019 claiming that they violated the Fair Housing Act and announced the settlement agreement on Friday. The agreement must still be approved by the U.S. District Court in Hawaii.

The defendant developers are Albert C. Kobayashi Inc., Martin V. Cooper, Design Partners Inc., Michael N. Goshi, Fritz Johnson Inc., Frederick M. Johnson, Stanford Carr Development LLC, SCD Wailea Fairways LLC, Sato & Associates Inc., Fukumoto Engineering Inc., Rojac Construction Inc., Delta Construction Corp., Warren S. Unemori Engineering Inc., GYA Architects Inc. and Goodfellow Bros. LLC.

The developers either did not respond to requests for comment, declined to comment or could not be reached. 

The five properties are Napilihau Villages, a 70-unit condominium complex in northern Napili that opened in 1997; Napili Villas, a Napili condominium complex that opened in 2001; Wailea Fairway Villas, built in 1998 in Kihei; and two affordable housing complexes constructed under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program – Kahului Town Terrace in Kahului and Palehua Terrace Phase I in Kapolei. 

The Fair Housing Act says that ground-floor units designed after March 13, 1991, must have certain features to make them accessible, including doors wide enough for wheelchairs to pass through, bathroom walls that can have grab bars installed, kitchen and bathrooms that allow wheelchairs to maneuver in and light switches, electrical outlets and thermostats placed in accessible locations, according to court documents. 

Under the settlement agreement, the developers must make changes at the properties, including replacing or modifying steps and steep walkway slopes, lowering mailboxes so that people in wheelchairs can reach them and improving doorways, kitchens and bathrooms to make them easier for people in wheelchairs to access. 

The companies will also pay $200,000 for additional accessibility-related improvements at one of the properties. The Department of Justice did not specify which one.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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