More homes considered monsters
Just how big of a house does it have to be, to be considered a monster? The Honolulu City Council defines monster homes that would face stricter regulations.
Construction of monster homes could soon come to an end on Oahu.
The Honolulu City Council is advancing a bill that would stop them from being built.
A temporary moratorium measure would keep monster homes from going up, so rules to regulate them can go in.
Just how big does a house have to be to be considered a monster?
Under the proposed bill, more than just McMansions would face stricter building requirements.
Monster sized homes are taking over neighborhoods, according to residents from a number of communities.
"Please stop them, because once the monster is built they are there to stay," said Kaimuki resident Sarah Chinen.
The massive homes take up much of the available building space.
But according to the Department of Planning and Permitting Acting Director Kathy Sokugawa, huge homes that dwarf their neighbors aren't being built illegally and in fact, could be even bigger, "Right now the code allows a little more housing than what people have been building. Obviously, we are concerned about these monster homes, but they have been built legally."
The department would like to limit the allowable building ratio to 8/10s of the size of the land.
That means if you have a 10,000 sq foot lot, you could build an 8,000 sq foot home.
"That would allow larger lots to have a larger house. It seems unfair to have a small limitation on large lots of 10,000 and above square feet," stated Sokugawa.
That is an idea supported by the councilman who represents the district of Kahala. Where the lots are large, and so are many of the homes.
"I want to make sure we allow people who are trying to live in the neighborhood build responsibly, and fine tune the bill so true monster houses are not going to be built," said Councilman Trevor Ozawa.
In many instances, the larger the home, the larger the impact on the surrounding community.
"I have concerns about traffic, parking, noise safety and impacts to the neighborhood," said Kaimuki resident Mary Lou Kobayashi.
Under the measure being advanced, homes 3,500 square feet and larger would be considered monster homes. They would only be allowed to be built with 2 wet bars and one laundry room. Some feel even more limitations are needed.
"I believe limiting bathrooms is also critical, not only does it limit rentals but it also restricts water and sewer infrastructure," said Kaimuki resident Christine Otto Zaa.
The council bill would also require a certain number of on-site parking spaces. The bigger the home, the more spaced would be needed.
That change could clear some of the congestion in neighborhoods which have seen a surge in monster homes.
"Along with the monsters comes more cars. We need to restrict parking to just one side of the street, or else someone is going to die. I heard of 2 cases where there were medical emergencies and the first responders were not able to get in," said Gregory Spencer, who lives on Wilhelmina Rise.
The proposed moratorium on monster homes could limit construction for a year.
But ever since talk started about limiting the size, scale and number of monster homes, there has also been an increase in permit applications for huge houses.
So some residents asked the city council for fast action.
"Please act quickly to pass a moratorium to protect our neighborhoods," said Kobayashi.
The zoning chair, Ikaika Anderson is fast tracking the monster home measure.
He asked for a pair of special meetings to be held on the bill, which passed out of committee. It could go through another committee hearing and be voted on by the full council twice in the next two weeks. Which means the moratorium may begin next month, if it passes quickly through Honolulu Hale.