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Honolulu Mayor signs bill to temporarily ban "monster homes" on Oahu

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HONOLULU -

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill into law Tuesday placing a temporary ban on building so-called "monster homes" on Oahu.

"These types of homes are being built for one reason and that's because there's a demand for them," said Mayor Caldwell.  

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson is the author of the bill. 

"The goal here is to preserve the integrity of our residential districts," said Anderson.    

Many who testified against the bill said it's an opportunity for multi-generational families to have a place to call their own, but supporters call these massive homes an eyesore and they want them out. 

"Since November of last year, we've issued 44 notices of violation related to these oversized homes so it's a significant number, it's an uptick," said Kathy Sokugawa, with the Department of Planning and Permitting  

While the moratorium is in effect, Anderson is calling for stronger punishment for violators.

"Let's make sure the penalties are swift and severe, up to and including-- forcing demolition of some of these homes that are built," said Anderson. 

The Building Industry Association of Hawaii (BIA- Hawaii), who once testified against the bill, agrees with Anderson. 

"By tearing it down, it's more difficult for them to come back and redo it," said Gladys Marrone, CEO of BIA-Hawaii.  

Marrone said despite issues with previous versions of the bill, she understands addressing Hawaii's housing crisis is a process of give and take.

"We understand that there's a compromise and we kind of needed to find a balance between addressing the true problems," said Marrone.  

City officials said they are in the process of revising current land ordinances to find an appropriate place for the massive homes. 

"We will be coming up with legislation that will be a true solution to the monster home issue by recognizing there is a problem to developing apartment zones," said Kymberly Pine.  

The new law will only affect new applications for permits, and will not affect projects already in progress or permits filed before Tuesday. City officials told Island News they expect to lift the temporary ban in less than a year.
 

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