City tries to rein in monster houses
The Honolulu City Council is wrestling with how best to slow the explosion of monster homes in neighborhoods on Oahu.
HONOLULU - One home on Olino Street is the first three-story home in Foster Village.
Neighbors say it has become a real attraction.
"People are shocked. They have never seen anything like it. They wonder if it’s legal or not. They don't particularly like it," Len Pepper, Foster Village Resident said.
Pepper lived in the sleepy neighborhood since 1969.
He isn't keen about what popped up across the street from his house.
It's close to being occupied and Pepper is worried what a house with so many bedrooms will bring.
"I am apprehensive about what is going to happen but hope for the best," Pepper said. "I honestly don't feel the residents in the various neighborhoods have any say. We do need more housing but we would like to have a say."
"I think the City Council is at a point where they need to step in and review these, project by project," Councilman Trevor Ozawa said.
Ozawa wants to limit the number of bedrooms and wet bars to slow the tide of monster homes in older neighborhoods.
Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga has a bill calling on a moratorium on the building of the humongous homes, which will be heard Wednesday alongside one by Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, that zeros in on property assessments.
"I think it's a little bit too big house for this neighborhood," Henry Choy, resident of Halawa Heights said.
Choy is suspicious about a 19-bedroom house after being told two sisters will move in.
"There is no garage, no yard. They cut the hill back yard to build. I am worried about the extra cars," Choy said.
It's a fear Island news heard repeatedly across form a 22-bedroom structure on Ulune Place and from neighbors at a 19-bedroom house on Kaulike place.
The complaints are also getting the attention of the Hawaii Construction Alliance.
“It's clear that a lot of people building these giant homes aren't following the rules," Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Hawaii Construction Alliance said.
Just driving by these construction sites, you can’t help but wonder if they are cutting corners on safety.
“There are lots of ways builders get around the law. They claim to be owner- builder. They claim to be sole proprietors. But you go to these sites. There's lots of workers and are they being paid properly? Are they covered by insurance, are they being paid properly, there are lots of questions," Santos-Tam said.
If you have a monster in your neighborhood, the Honolulu City Council wants to hear all about it.