Bill 27, relating to accessory dwelling units (ADUs), was signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell and will save homeowners $9,000 to $10,000 in ADU application fees. The measure waives all building permit, grading, and inspection fees, and wastewater facility charges, for a two-year period, and permanently waives park dedication requirements for ADUs.
The ADU program is part of the city’s proposed Islandwide Housing Strategy, which acknowledges that the marketplace is not building enough housing to keep up with demand. Residents live with family, and often spend more than 45% of their incomes on combined housing and transportation costs. The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism forecasted demand for additional housing units on Oahu is 25,847 units. To address the current “housing crisis,” government needs to shift its role of housing development and transition from just regulatory to actively supporting production through approval of permits and reduction in barriers to development through policy change. The city also needs to address other challenges, including infrastructure and sewers, which are one of the biggest barriers to building ADUs.